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REVIVAL LECTURES - LECTURE III. - HOW TO PROMOTE A REVIVAL. paragraph 28 What it is to break up the fallow ground - How it is to be performed.

9. Want of care for the heathen. Perhaps you have not cared enough for them to attempt to learn their condition; perhaps not even to take a missionary magazine. Look at this, and see how much you really care for the heathen, and set down honestly the real amount of your feelings for them, and your desire for their salvation. Measure your desire for their salvation by the self-denial you practice, in giving of your substance to send them the Gospel. Do you deny yourself even the hurtful superfluities of life, such as tea, coffee, and tobacco? Do you retrench your style of living, and scruple not to subject yourself to any inconvenience to save them? Do you daily pray for them in private? Are you laying by something to put into the treasury of the Lord when you go up to pray? If you are not doing these things, and if your soul is not agonized for the poor benighted heathen, why are you such a hypocrite as to pretend to be a Christian? Why, your profession is an insult to Jesus Christ!

 

 


REVIVAL LECTURES - LECTURE III. - HOW TO PROMOTE A REVIVAL. paragraph 35 What it is to break up the fallow ground - How it is to be performed.

14. Neglect of self-denial. There are many professors who are willing to do almost anything in religion, that does not require self-denial. But when they are required to do anything that requires them to deny themselves--oh, that is too much! They think they are doing a great deal for God, and doing about as much as He ought in reason to ask, if they are only doing what they can do just as well as not; but they are not willing to deny themselves any comfort or convenience whatever for the sake of serving the Lord. They will not willingly suffer reproach for the name of Christ.

 

 


REVIVAL LECTURES - LECTURE III. - HOW TO PROMOTE A REVIVAL. paragraph 36 What it is to break up the fallow ground - How it is to be performed.

Nor will they deny themselves the luxuries of life, to save a world from hell. So far are they from remembering that self-denial is a condition of discipleship that they do not know what self-denial is. They never have really denied themselves a riband or a pin for Christ and the Gospel. Oh, how soon such professors will be in hell! Some are giving of their abundance, and are giving much, and are ready to complain that others do not give more; when, in truth, they do not themselves give anything that they need, anything that they could enjoy if they kept it. They only give of their surplus wealth; and perhaps that poor woman who puts in her mite, has exercised more self-denial than they have in giving thousands.

 

 


REVIVAL LECTURES - LECTURE IX. - MEANS TO BE USED WITH SINNERS. paragraph 46 On what particular points Christians are to testify for God - The manner in which they are to testify.

7. To the necessity of self-denial, humility, and heavenly-mindedness.

 

 


REVIVAL LECTURES - LECTURE IX. - MEANS TO BE USED WITH SINNERS. paragraph 49 On what particular points Christians are to testify for God - The manner in which they are to testify.

You can no more convert the world in this way than by blowing a ram's horn. What did the Jesuits do? They went about among the people in the daily practice of self-denial, teaching, and preaching, and praying, and laboring; mingling with every caste and grade, and bringing down their instructions to the capacity of every individual. In that way their religion spread over the vast empire of Japan. I am not saying anything in regard to the religion they taught. I speak only of their following the true policy of missions, by showing, by their lives, a wide contrast with a worldly spirit.

 

 


REVIVAL LECTURES - LECTURE IX. - MEANS TO BE USED WITH SINNERS. paragraph 50 On what particular points Christians are to testify for God - The manner in which they are to testify.

If Christians attempt to accommodate religion to the worldliness of men, they render the salvation of the world impossible. How can you make people believe that self-denial and separation from the world are necessary, unless you practice them?

 

 


REVIVAL LECTURES - LECTURE XIII. - HOW CHURCHES CAN HELP MINISTERS. paragraph 111 The importance of the cooperation of the Church in producing and carrying on a revival - Several things which Churches must do, if they would promote a revival and aid their ministers.

Here they are, "sponging" their support from the Lord's treasury! How many Churches lay out their money for tea, and coffee, and tobacco, and then come and ask aid from the Home Missionary Society! I will protest against aiding a people who use tea and tobacco, and live without the least self-denial, wanting to offer God only that which costs them nothing (2 Samuel 24:24).

 

 


REVIVAL LECTURES - LECTURE XV. - HINDRANCES TO REVIVALS. paragraph 43 A revival of religion is a great work - Several things which may put a stop to it - What must be done for the continuance of a revival.

14. A revival cannot continue when Christians will not practice self-denial.

 

 


REVIVAL LECTURES - LECTURE XV. - HINDRANCES TO REVIVALS. paragraph 44 A revival of religion is a great work - Several things which may put a stop to it - What must be done for the continuance of a revival.

When the Church has enjoyed a revival, and begins to grow fat upon it, and to run into self-indulgence, the revival will soon cease. Unless they sympathize with the Son of God, who gave up all to save sinners; unless they are willing to give up their luxuries, and their ease, and devote themselves to the work, the Christians need not expect that the Spirit of God will be poured out upon them. This is undoubtedly one of the principal causes of personal declension. Let Christians in a revival BEWARE, when they first find an inclination creeping upon them to shrink from self-denial, and to give in to one self-indulgence after another.

 

 


REVIVAL LECTURES - LECTURE XIX. - INSTRUCTIONS TO CONVERTS. paragraph 101 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.

It is astonishing to see how much the conscience may be cultivated by a proper course. If rightly attended to, it may be made so pure, and so powerful, that it will always respond exactly to the Word of God. Present any duty to such a Christian, or any self-denial, or suffering, and only show him the Word of God, and he will do it without a word of objection.

 

 


REVIVAL LECTURES - LECTURE XX. - INSTRUCTIONS TO CONVERTS (continued). paragraph 20 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.

2. Young converts should be taught that the duty of self-denial is one of the leading features of the Gospel. They should understand that they are not pious at all, any further than they are willing to take up their cross daily, and deny themselves for Christ. There is but little self-denial in the Church, and the reason is that the duty is so much lost sight of, in giving instruction to young converts. How seldom are they told that self-denial is the leading feature in Christianity! In pleading for benevolent objects, how often will you find that ministers and agents do not even ask Christians to deny themselves for the sake of promoting the object! They only ask them to give what they can spare as well as not; in other words, to offer unto the Lord that which costs them nothing. What an abomination! They only ask for the surplus, for what is not wanted, for what can just as well be given as not.

 

 


REVIVAL LECTURES - LECTURE XX. - INSTRUCTIONS TO CONVERTS (continued). paragraph 21 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.

There is no religion in this kind of giving. A man might give a very large sum to a benevolent object, and there would be no religion in his doing so, if he could give the money as well as not; nor would there be any self-denial in it. Jesus Christ exercised self-denial to save sinners. So has God the Father exercised self-denial in giving His Son to die for us, and in sparing us, and in bearing with our perverseness. The Holy Ghost exercises self-denial, in condescending to strive with such unholy beings to bring them to God. The angels exercise self-denial, in watching over this world. The apostles planted the Christian religion among the nations by the exercise of self-denial. And are we to think of being religious without any self-denial? Are we to call ourselves Christians, the followers of Christ, the "temples of the Holy Ghost" (1 Corinthians 6:19), and to claim fellowship with the apostles, when we have never deprived ourselves of anything that would promote our personal enjoyment for the sake of promoting Christ's kingdom? Young converts should be made to see that unless they are willing to lay themselves out for God, and ready to sacrifice life and everything else for Christ, they "have not the Spirit of Christ, and are none of His" (Romans 8:9).

 

 


REVIVAL LECTURES - LECTURE XX. - INSTRUCTIONS TO CONVERTS (continued). paragraph 39 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.

8. They should be taught that it is necessary for them to be just as holy as they think ministers ought to be. There has for a long time been an idea that ministers are bound to be holy and practice self-denial. And so they are. But it is strange they should suppose that ministers are bound to be any more holy than other people. They would be shocked to see a minister showing levity, or running after the fashions, or getting out of temper, or living in a fine house, or riding in a coach. Oh, that is dreadful!

 

 


REVIVAL LECTURES - LECTURE XX. - INSTRUCTIONS TO CONVERTS (continued). paragraph 41 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.

It is distressing to hear some of our foremost laymen talk of its being dishonorable to religion, to give ministers a large salary, and let them live in an expensive style, when it is a fact that their own expenses are, for the number of their families, and the company they have to receive, far above those of almost any minister. All this arises out of fundamentally wrong notions imbibed while they were young converts. Young converts have been taught to expect that ministers will have all the religion - especially all the self-denial. So long as this continues there can be no hope that the Church will ever do much for the glory of God, or for the conversion of the world. There is nothing of all this in the Bible. Where has God said: "You ministers, love God with all your heart, and soul, and mind, and strength"? Or, "You ministers, do all to the glory of God"? No, these things are said to all alike, and he who attempts to excuse himself from any duty or self-denial, from any watchfulness or sobriety, by putting it off upon ministers, or who ventures to adopt a lower scale of holy living for himself than he thinks is proper for a minister, is in great danger of proving himself a hypocrite, and paying in hell the forfeit of his foolishness.

 

 


REVIVAL LECTURES - LECTURE XXII. - GROWTH IN GRACE. paragraph 55 What grace is - What the injunction to "grow in grace" does not mean - What it does mean - Conditions of growth in grace - What is not proof of growth - What is proof - How to grow in grace.

3. Less reluctance of feeling, when called to the exercise of self-denial, is an evidence of growth in grace. It shows that the feelings are becoming less and less despotic, that the will is getting more the mastery of them, that the sensibility is getting more into harmony with the devotion of the will and the dictates of the intelligence.

 

 


IMPORTANT SUBJECTS - SERMON V. TOTAL DEPRAVITY paragraph 25 Romans, 6:7.--"The carnal mind is enimity against God, for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be."

Again. We are apt to misinterpret the motives, and put the worst construction upon the conduct of the enemies of our friends. If they are favouring the interests, and endeavouring to promote the happiness of one whom we greatly hate, we behold all their conduct through a jaundiced eye. The best things in them, are often ascribed by us, to the worst of motives; and those things in them, which deserve the most praise, are often, by us the most severely reprobated. Your acquaintance with your own hearts, and with the developements of the human character around you, will instantly supply abundant proofs of this remark. This feature of the human character, often, most odiously developes itself towards God. How frequently do we hear impenitent sinners, ascribing the most praiseworthy deeds of God's professed friends, to the most unworthy motives. How often are their acts of greatest self-denial, those things in which they most humbly serve, and most nearly resemble God, misrepresented, ascribed to the basest of motives, and made the very reasons, upon which they ground their pertinacious opposition to them. It is impossible to account for this upon any other principle than that of their enmity against God; for the persons against whom this enmity is vented, are often entire strangers to them; individuals against whom they can have no personal hostility. It is manifestly not enmity to them, any further then they resemble God, that calls forth these expressions of hatred, but to the cause in which they are engaged, to the master whom they serve.

 

 


IMPORTANT SUBJECTS - SERMON XII. LOVE OF THE WORLD paragraph 20 I John, 2:15.--"Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him."

God requires you to love your neighbour as yourself. Again he says, "let every one look not upon his own things, but upon the things of others." "Let every one seek not his own, but another's wealth." These are express requirements of God; they are the very spirit and substance of the Gospel. Benevolence is a desire to do good to others. A willingness to deny self, for the purpose of promoting the interest of your neighbor, is the very spirit of Christ, it is the heart and soul of his Gospel. Now, suppose a man, in his bargains with others, aims only at promoting his own interest; he seeks not another's, but his own wealth. He looks not to the welfare of others, but his eye and his heart are upon his own side of the bargain. He does not aim at benefiting the individual with whom he transacts business; his only object is to take care of himself. This is the very opposite of the spirit of the Gospel. Does this man love his neighbour as himself? Does he love that God supremely, who has prohibited all selfishness, on pain of eternal death? No! If he loved God, he would not disobey him, for the sake of making money. If he loved his neighbor as himself; if he felt that it was more blessed to give than to receive; if he had the spirit of the Gospel, he would of course feel and manifest as great a desire for the interest of those with whom he deals, as for his own interest. He would be as anxious to give, as to get a good bargain; nay, he would be more so. Self-denial, to promote the happiness and the interest of others, would be his joy, would constitute his happiness, would be that to which he would be inclined, of course. And now let me ask you who are here present, can you deny this principle? What then is your spiritual state? Have you the love of God in you? How do you transact business? Do you consult the interest of those with whom you deal, as much as you do your own? or in all your bargains, do you aim simply at securing a profit to yourself? If you do, the love of God is not in you. You have not the beginning of piety in your heart.

 

 


IMPORTANT SUBJECTS - SERMON XII. LOVE OF THE WORLD paragraph 43 I John, 2:15.--"Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him."

15th. Although a man may give his surplus income, yet if he practice no self-denial, he gives to God that which costs him nothing, and gives no substantial evidence that he loves God. If he gratify all his wants and the wants of his family, and provide for them all the comforts and conveniences of life, and simply appropriate what remains of his income over and above his expenditures, he really practices no self-denial; he enjoys all that can be enjoyed of wealth, and is really ridding himself of the trouble of taking care of it by appropriating the balance of his yearly income to the cause of Christ. This is like a safety-valve to let off the surplus steam that would otherwise burst the boiler.

 

 


TO PROFESSING CHRISTIANS 1836, LECTURE VI - Legal Religion paragraph 58

     22. They manifest great uneasiness at the increasing calls for self-denial to do good.

 

 


TO PROFESSING CHRISTIANS 1836, LECTURE VI - Legal Religion paragraph 63

     23. When they are called upon to exercise self-denial for the sake of doing good, instead of being a pleasant thing, it gives them unmingled pain.

 

 


TO PROFESSING CHRISTIANS 1836, LECTURE VI - Legal Religion paragraph 64

     Such a one does not know anything about enjoying self-denial. He cannot understand how self-denial is pleasant, or how anybody can take pleasure in it, or have joy of heart in denying himself for the sake of doing good to others. That he thinks is a height in religion which he has not attained to. Yet the true friend of God and man, whose heart is fully set to do good, never enjoys any money he expends so well as that which he gives to promote Christ's kingdom. If he is really pious, he knows that is the best disposition he can make of his money. Nay, he is sorry to be obliged to use money for anything else, when there are so many opportunities to do good with it.

 

 


TO PROFESSING CHRISTIANS 1836, LECTURE VII - Religion of Public Opinion paragraph 37

     This is evident from the fact, that they will yield obedience only to those requirements of God which are sustained by public opinion. Although they will not exercise self-denial to gain the applause of God, yet they will exercise great self-denial to gain the applause of men. The men that gave up ardent spirit, because public sentiment rendered it necessary, will give up wine also, whenever a public sentiment sufficiently powerful shall demand it. And not till then.

 

 


TO PROFESSING CHRISTIANS 1836, LECTURE VII - Religion of Public Opinion paragraph 55

     They are much afraid the ultraism of the present day will destroy the church. They say we are carrying things too far, and we shall produce a reaction. Take, for instance, the Temperance Reformation. The true friends of temperance now know, that alcohol is the same thing, wherever it is found, and that to save the world and banish intemperance, it is necessary to banish alcohol in all its forms. The pinch of the Temperance Reformation has never yet been decided. The mass of the community have never been called to any self-denial in the cause. The place where it will pinch is, when it comes to the question, whether men will exercise self-denial to crush the evil. If they may continue to drink wine and beer, it is no self-denial to give up ardent spirits. It is only changing the form in which alcohol is taken, and they can drink as freely as before. Many friends of the cause, when they saw what multitudes were rushing into it, were ready to shout a triumph. But the real question is not yet tried. And multitudes will never yield, until the friends of God and man can form a public sentiment so strong as to crush the character of every man who will not give it up. You will find many doctors of divinity and pillars of the church, who are able to drink their wine, that will stand their ground, and no command of God, no requirement of benevolence, no desire to save souls, no pity for bleeding humanity, will move such persons, until you can form a public sentiment so powerful as to force them to it, on penalty of loss of reputation. For they love the praise of men.

 

 


TO PROFESSING CHRISTIANS 1836, LECTURE VIII - Conformity to the World paragraph 23

     What was the spirit Jesus Christ exemplified on earth? It was the spirit of self-denial, of benevolence, of sacrificing Himself to do good to others. He exhibited the same spirit that God does, who enjoys His infinite happiness in going out of himself to gratify His benevolent heart in doing good to others. This is the religion of the gospel, to be like God, not only doing good, but enjoying it, joyfully going out of self to do good. This is the gospel maxim: "It is more blessed to give than to receive." And again, "Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others." What says the business man of the world? "Look out for number one." These very maxims were made by men who knew and cared no more for the gospel, than the heathen do. Why should Christians conform to such maxims as these?

 

 


TO PROFESSING CHRISTIANS 1836, LECTURE VIII - Conformity to the World paragraph 27

     How can they understand that the object of the gospel is to raise men above the love of the world, and above the influence of the world, and place them on higher ground, to live on totally different principles? When they see professing Christians acting on the same principles with other men, how can they understand the true principles of the gospel, or know what it means by heavenly-mindedness, self-denial, benevolence, and so on?

 

 


TO PROFESSING CHRISTIANS 1836, LECTURE VIII - Conformity to the World paragraph 110

     This is just about as reasonable as it would be for a temperance man to think he must get drunk now and then, to avoid disgusting the intemperate, and to retain his influence over them. The truth is, that persons ought to know, and ought to see in the lives of professing Christians, that if they embrace religion, they must be weaned from the world, and must give up the love of the world, and its pride and show and folly, and live a holy life, in watchfulness and self-denial and active benevolence.

 

 


TO PROFESSING CHRISTIANS 1836, LECTURE IX - True and False Repentance paragraph 91

     They are not cheerful and happy in religion. They are grieved because they have to break off from so many things they love, or because they have to give so much money. They are in the fire all the time. Instead of rejoicing in every opportunity of self-denial, and rejoicing in the plainest and most cutting exhibitions of truth, it is a great trial to them to be told their duty, when it crosses their inclinations and habits. The plain truth distresses them. Why? Because their hearts do not love to do duty. If they loved to do their duty, every ray of light that broke in upon their minds from heaven, pointing out their duty, would be welcomed, and make them more and more happy.

 

 


TO PROFESSING CHRISTIANS 1836, LECTURE X - Dishonesty in Small Matters inconsistent with Honesty in any thing paragraph 69

     6. The man that will not practice self-denial in little things to promote religion, would not endure persecution for the sake of promoting religion.

 

 


TO PROFESSING CHRISTIANS 1836, LECTURE X - Dishonesty in Small Matters inconsistent with Honesty in any thing paragraph 70

     Those who will not deny their appetite would not endure the scourge and the stake. Perhaps, if persecution were to arise, some might endure it for the sake of the applause it would bring, or to show their spirit, and to face opposition. There is a natural spirit of obstinacy, which is often roused by opposition, that would go to the stake rather than yield a point. But it is easily seen, that it is not true love to the cause which prompts a man to endure opposition, if he will not endure self-denial in little things for the sake of the cause.

 

 


TO PROFESSING CHRISTIANS 1837, LECTURE I - True and False Conversions paragraph 58

     18. They may be equally self-denying in many things. Self-denial is not confined to true saints. Look at the sacrifices and self-denials of the Mohammedans, going on their pilgrimage to Mecca. Look at the heathen, throwing themselves under the car of Juggernaut. Look at the poor ignorant papists, going up and down over the sharp stones on their bare knees, till they stream with blood. A Protestant congregation will not contend that there is any religion in that. But is there not self-denial? The true saint denies himself, for the sake of doing more good to others. He is more set on this than on his own indulgence or his own interest. The deceived person may go equal lengths, but from purely selfish motives.

 

 


TO PROFESSING CHRISTIANS 1837, LECTURE XII - Love the Whole of Religion paragraph 49

     1. One effect of perfect love to God and man will certainly be, delight in self-denial for the sake of promoting the interests of God's kingdom and the salvation of sinners.

 

 


TO PROFESSING CHRISTIANS 1837, LECTURE XII - Love the Whole of Religion paragraph 50

     See affectionate parents, how they delight in self-denial for the sake of promoting the happiness of their children. There is a father; he gives himself up to exhausting labor, day by day, and from year to year, through the whole of a long life, rising early, and eating the bread of carefulness continually, to promote the welfare of his family. And he counts all this self-denial and toil not a grief or a burden, but a delight, because of the love he bears to his family. See that mother; she wishes to educate her son at college, and now, instead of finding it painful it is a joy to her to sit up late and labor incessantly to help him. That is because she really loves her son. Such parents rejoice more in conferring gifts on their children, than they would in enjoying the same things themselves. What parent does not enjoy a piece of fruit more in giving it to his little child, than in eating it himself? The Lord Jesus Christ enjoyed more solid satisfaction in working out salvation for mankind, than any of His saints can never enjoy in receiving favors at His hands. He testified that it is more blessed to give than to receive. This was the joy set before Him for which he endured the cross and despised the shame. His love was so great for mankind, that it constrained Him to undertake this work, and sustained Him triumphantly through it. The apostle Paul did not count it a grief and a hardship to be hunted from place to place, imprisoned, scourged, stoned, and counted the offscouring of all things, for the sake of spreading the gospel and saving souls. It was his joy. The love of Christ so constrained him, he had such a desire to do good, that it was his highest delight to lay himself on that altar as a sacrifice to the cause. Other individuals have had the same mind with the apostle. They have been known who would be willing to live a thousand years, or to the end of time, if they could be employed in doing good, in promoting the kingdom of God, and saving the souls of men, and willing to forego even sleep and food to benefit objects they so greatly love.

 

 


TO PROFESSING CHRISTIANS 1837, LECTURE XIV - Christ the Husband of the Church paragraph 36

     Sharing each other's sorrow is a great alleviation. Who does not know this? In like manner do Christ and His church share each other's sorrows. The apostle Paul says he was always bearing about in his body the dying of the Lord Jesus; "For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ." And he declared that one end of all his toils and self-denials was that he might know the fellowship of Christ's sufferings." And he rejoiced in all his sufferings, that he might fill up that which was behind of the afflictions of Christ. The church feels, keenly, every reproach cast upon Christ, and Christ feels keenly every injury inflicted on the church.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1839 paragraph 106 70 Lecture II. Faith ...

4. You see what is the difficulty with those who are constantly in a complaining state, on the subject of religion. They seem to know they are wrong; but do not understand wherein the foundation of their wrong consists. They sometimes think that a neglect of this duty is the grand difficulty, and sometimes something else is that upon which their minds fasten, as the prime difficulty in the case. They set themselves to break off from one sin and another, and practice this self-denial, and that duty, and all without that faith that fills the heart with love. Thus they go round and round in a circle, and do not see that unbelief is their great, their damning sin; without the removal of which no other sin can be repented of or forgiven. All their efforts are entirely legal, hypocritical, and vain till they exercise faith.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1839 paragraph 552 517 Lecture VIII. True and False Peace ...

Now the difference in these two states of mind. will be apparent in this. The deluded sinner, not having his will merged in the will of God, will soon find, that what he calls his peace, is continually broken. Instead of finding that be is not stumbled, or offended with the providences, and will of God, he will find that he is almost continually stumbled. He is thrown into an excitement of mind, at every providence, and every commandment of God, that crosses his path. The will of God is not the law of his being. So far from it, he often finds himself in such a state of mind, that conscience must enforce its claims upon the heart, and sometimes a severe conflict, compels him to yield one form of sin after another. Thus he submits, and yields one point today, from some selfish consideration, and to-morrow there is some new call to duty--some demand of self-denial--or something else, which brings him up to a stand of strong resistance, and throws him into great confusion. This, perhaps, after a severe struggle, the mind will yield, and retreat to some refuge, prepared to resist the next demand upon its selfishness.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1839 paragraph 556 517 Lecture VIII. True and False Peace ...

Now let me place beside this picture, the experience of a Christian. In him, so far as he is a Christian, selfishness is subdued, and his conscience and heart are at one. In such a case, the office of conscience is not to force the heart, for the heart needs no force. Conscience is that power of the mind, that points out the moral qualities of actions, and enables the mind to distinguish between what is right, and what is wrong. Now the Christian heart is in love with what is right, (i.e.) with the will of God, whenever it discovers what it is. So that the dictates of conscience are readily, spontaneously, and joyfully obeyed by the heart. In this case, the peace of mind is unbroken, and there is a joyful acquiescence in all the will of God. Let there be new calls to duty--new occasions for self-denial--new demands upon life, and health, and strength, for the promotion of God's glory--no mutiny results, but peace, and a joyful yielding--a supreme and delightful preference of the will of God, reigns throughout the soul.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1839 paragraph 848 804 Lecture XIII. Being In Debt ...

2. That if in any case the present payment of debts is impossible, your duty is to regard your indebtedness as a sin against God and your neighbor--to repent, and set yourself with all practicable self-denial, to pay as fast as you can. And unless you are laying yourself out to pay your debts, do not imagine that you repent either of your indebtedness or any other sin. For you are impenitent, and a shameless hypocrite rather than a Christian, if you suffer yourself to be in debt, and are not making all practicable efforts to do justice to your creditors.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1839 paragraph 860 804 Lecture XIII. Being In Debt ...

How many young men there are, who are in debt to the Education Society, and who are dealing very loosely with their consciences, on the subject of payment. Because the Education Society do not press them right up, they let the matter lie along from time to time--increase their expenditures, as their income may increase, instead of practicing self-denial, and honestly discharging their obligations to the Society.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1839 paragraph 1222 1195 Lecture XXI. & XXII. Grieving the Holy Spirit- No.'s 1 & 2 ...

14. A disposition to retaliate grieves the Holy Spirit. This temper of mind is as far as possible from the temper of Christ, and is the direct opposite of a state of sanctification. The spirit of Christ would be, to forgive enemies, and those who have injured you, and to labor, and suffer great self-denial for their good. But the spirit of retaliation is earthly, sensual, devilish.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1840 paragraph 139 21 Lectures I. - IX. Sanctification- No.'s 1 - 9 ...

(9.) It justly reprobates any violation of the great principle of equal love, as rebellion against the whole universe. It is rebellion against God, because it is a rejection of his authority-- and selfishness, under any form, is a setting up of our own interests, in opposition to the interests of the universe of God.
 

12. Entire Sanctification implies a willingness to exercise self-denial, even unto death, for the glory of God and good of man, did they require it. The Apostle teaches us that "we ought to be willing to lay down our lives for the brethren," as Christ laid down his life.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1840 paragraph 159 21 Lectures I. - IX. Sanctification- No.'s 1 - 9 ...

(6.) If it is known that the promisor has exercised the greatest self-denial and made the greatest sacrifice for the promisee, in order to render it proper or possible for him to make and fulfill his promises, in relation to the relieving his necessities, the state of mind implied in this conduct, should be fully recognized in interpreting the language of the promise. It would be utterly unreasonable and absurd in such a case to restrict and pare down the language of his promise so as to make it fall entirely short of what might reasonably be expected of the promisor, from those developments of his character, feelings, and designs, which were made by the great self-denial he has exercised and the sacrifices he has made.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1840 paragraph 598 552 Lecture XII. Blessedness of Benevolence ...

15. We see what we should think of those who are unwilling to exercise any self-denial, for the sake of doing good to others. There is one man, who will not give up what he calls the temperate use of alcohol, for the sake of doing good. He contends, that it is lawful for him to use it moderately; that others have no right to make a stumbling-block of his use of it; and as for practising a little self-denial for the sake of the example, he will not do it. Here is a woman, who professes to love God supremely, and her neighbor as herself. She prays for the heathen, and thinks herself truly religious; and yet, she will not deny herself the use of tea and coffee, to save the heathen world from hell. The wail of eight hundred millions of human beings is coming upon every wind of heaven, crying out, "send us tracts, send us Bibles, send us missionaries, send us the means of eternal life; for we are dying in our sins." "But ah!" says these professing Christians, men and women-- "It is hard times; money is scarce; we are in debt; we must turn away our ears from hearing these wailings of woe." Now brother--sister--let me sit down at your table. What have you here? How much does this tea and coffee cost you a year? How much do these worse than useless articles of luxury curtail your ability to send the gospel to the perishing? My sister, how many Bibles and tracts have you used up in this way? How many Bibles, at five shillings each, might be sent by you to the heathen every year, were you willing to exercise a little self-denial, and that too, a self-denial which your own health and highest good demand? Brother, perhaps you use tobacco. How long have you used it? The price of how many Bibles does it cost you a year? And how many heathen might this day have had Bibles in their hands, who will now go down to hell, without ever hearing of the Savior, who might have had the Bible and eternal life, had you had one particle of benevolence in your heart? Will you make the calculation? Will you ask, how many Bibles and tracts might have been purchased by the money you have squandered in this manner? And will you settle the question, definitely, whether you are influenced by the love of God and of souls? Whether you eat and drink these things for the glory of God, or for the gratification of your own lust? Surely, the question is of no less importance, than whether benevolence or selfishness constitutes your character.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1840 paragraph 604 552 Lecture XII. Blessedness of Benevolence ...

21. We see from this subject, how to understand that declaration concerning Christ, "that for the joy that was set before Him, He endured the cross, despising the shame, and is for ever set down at the right hand of God." Although multitudes of things connected with the Atonement were in themselves painful, yet, upon the whole, the great work was a source of infinite satisfaction to the Father and the Son. And God is virtuous in the Atonement, just in proportion as he really enjoys the making of it Himself. "The Lord loveth a cheerful giver;" and we always regard that self-denial as most virtuous, that is exercised most willingly. And where the greatest self-denial is exercised, not only with great willingness, but with great joyfulness, for the sake of doing good to others, we pronounce that the highest degree of virtue. The Father is represented as being well pleased with the conduct of Christ in the Atonement. He was greatly gratified with the virtue of His Son, and to see Him count the work a joyous one, in so freely and joyfully denying Himself to save His enemies from death.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1840 paragraph 720 708 Lecture XV. The Gospel the Savor of Life or of Death ...

3. The self-denial of Christ must have been greatly pleasing to his Father. What virtuous father would not consider himself as greatly honored by the exhibition of such a spirit as Christ manifested in dying for his enemies? When God saw his Son willing to leave the realms of glory, to take upon Him the form of a servant, to deny Himself even unto death, for the sake of making the salvation of his enemies possible, this must have been infinitely pleasing to a God of love.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1840 paragraph 784 754 Lecture XVI. Christians the Light of the World ...

6. By exhibiting our self-denial, in contrast with their self-indulgence, and that continually.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1840 paragraph 885 875 Lecture XIX. Temptations Must Be Put Away ...

2. It must be put away, because whatever is prized more than sin is hated, is our idol and our god. That is our god which we supremely regard. If we supremely love Jehovah, we shall sooner part with any thing than offend Him. Hence Christ teaches that, except a man hate his father, and mother, and brother, and sister, and even his own life, for Christ's sake, he cannot be his disciple. If any thing is loved or prized in comparison with God, we have no religion at all. If a man, therefore, does not dread sin more than he dreads death, he is no disciple of Christ. If there is any thing in the world that he loves more than he hates sin, any thing whatever, that would be spared, notwithstanding it kept him in bondage to sin, he is not, and cannot be a disciple of Christ. I speak of course of those things that can be put away by us, by an act of self-denial on our part. And if there is any kind or degree of self-denial which we would not prefer to being in sin, then, if the Bible is true, we are not the disciples of Christ. Let it be understood, now, that I do not speak of some very rare and high attainments in piety; but of a universal condition of discipleship. Christ has laid it down in as strong language as any in which it can be expressed. He uses the strongest language, without seeming to fear being misunderstood. He says, "If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple."

III. To continue the temptation in such case, and expect grace to overcome it, is to tempt God.

1. Because Christ has taught us to pray, that we may not be tempted. Now what is tempting god, if this is not--to pray that we may not be tempted, without using all the means in our power to avoid temptation? Suppose, that a drunkard should pray against temptations to intemperance, and still keep his sideboard loaded down with all kinds of tempting liquors? I know it is sometimes related of persons, that they have set some tempting object continually before them, to show the strength of their resolution to overcome. Whether there is any truth in such reported cases I know not; but this I know, that it is very unwise. And, if persons are instructed, it is nothing less than tempting god, to suffer a temptation, that can be removed at our pleasure, and that actually brings us into sin, to continue before us and exert its influence upon us.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1840 paragraph 886 875 Lecture XIX. Temptations Must Be Put Away ...

2. It is tempting God, because grace was never designed to purchase exemption from self-sacrifice, and self-denial; but to lead to them and support the soul under them.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1840 paragraph 889 875 Lecture XIX. Temptations Must Be Put Away ...

2. To suffer a temptation that prevails over us to continue, when by an act of self-denial on our part we can put it away, is but to confirm a state of impenitence. Every day and hour we suffer ourselves to continue under such an influence, the bonds of impenitence are strengthening, until we are hopelessly delivered up to the dominion of our besetting sins.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1840 paragraph 903 875 Lecture XIX. Temptations Must Be Put Away ...

12. Those who live in self-indulgence, and still think that they know and enjoy Christ, are deceived Antinomians. I have heard of some, who professed to come into the liberty of the gospel, decrying every thing that looked like self-denial and mortifying the flesh, as legal and belonging to Judaism, rather than to Christianity. Hence they indulge in the use of wines and strong drinks--their women indulge in dress, and flutter about after the fashions of this world; because, forsooth, they are now in a state of liberty, they spurn and despise a course of temperance, self-denial, and cross-bearing, of non-conformity to the world, as altogether a legal and self-righteous spirit and course of life. So did not Paul. So did not Christ. So does not any one who truly knows Christ.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1840 paragraph 904 875 Lecture XIX. Temptations Must Be Put Away ...

13. Many seem to understand the gospel as designed to purchase indulgence, instead of begetting self-denial. The gospel was evidently designed to enlighten the minds of men in regard to the value of heavenly things--to bring them out from under the dominion of the objects of sense, and engage their thoughts and their hearts, in the pursuit and enjoyment of spiritual objects; and thus to lead mankind to neglect the glitter and baubles of this world--to forgo pampering their appetites, indulging their passions, adorning their bodies, and floating on in the currents of this world. But many seem so entirely to mistake the true spirit and intent of the gospel, as to suppose it designed to sanctify conformity to the world, instead of entirely delivering the soul from it. With this understanding of the gospel some persons seem to be in a very wonderful state of mind. I heard, sometime since, of a young woman, a professor of religion, who was in the habit of cohabiting with a young man as if she had been his wife, and who, before retiring to her bed of iniquity and shameless lust, would kneel down, and very gravely thank God, that He allowed her such indulgences.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1841 paragraph 36 16 Lectures XXV. & XXVI. Submission to God- No.'s 1 & 2 ...

3. It implies an honest, earnest, and diligent inquiry after the will of God. There are a great many who profess to hold themselves and all their possessions at the disposal of the will of God--who profess a willingness to do, or be, or say any thing that God requires of them. But mark, you will find it impossible to convince them, that any thing inconsistent with their selfish schemes, is the will of God. They profess to hold all their property at the disposal of God; but the agents of benevolent institutions may labor with them for months, without being able to convince them, that it is the will of God, that they should part with their possessions to promote these objects. The attitude of their minds is manifestly such, that they are unwilling to know what is the will of God in relation to the disposal of their possessions. They demand a kind and degree of evidence to satisfy their minds that cannot be had, and ought not to be expected, and would not be demanded by them, if they were in any other than a supremely selfish state of mind. And thus, while they profess to hold themselves and all they possess at God's disposal, they can always manage to quiet their consciences, in their superlative selfishness, by shutting out the light, and refusing to be satisfied in respect to what really is the will of God.

I knew a man who professed to be converted, and to give all his property to God. At one time he was about to devote it to one benevolent object, and at another to another object; and thus has excited hopes and expectations, sometimes in one direction and sometimes in another, that he would give up at least his surplus of worldly goods, to the promotion of the great benevolent objects of the day. But alas! he seems never to find any object, to which he can believe it to be the will of God, that he should devote his property. No actually existing evidence will satisfy him. It seems that nothing short of a direct revelation from God, in words to this effect, will work conviction in his mind, "Know you, A.B., of such a place, at such a time, that thus saith the Lord, it is my supreme will and pleasure, that you devote such a portion of the earthly goods in your possession to the advancement of the interests of the Redeemer's kingdom, and that you deliver to C.D., the agent of such a society, the specified amount without gainsaying." And that this order of God should be accredited by some direct miracle, or thundered in a voice from heaven, in order to afford the required evidence. I know others, who, while they make large professions of holding themselves and all their possessions at the disposal of God, can always find some excuse for doing little or nothing for the promotion of any benevolent object. Is a church to be built, they can avoid giving any thing by imposing some condition, to which the congregation cannot and ought not to consent. Is the minister's salary to be paid, they can always find some excuse for not believing it to be the will of God, that they should do any thing for his support. Is any thing to be given to the Foreign Mission cause, they can always find some fault with the proceedings of the Board, as a reason for not believing that it is their duty to give. Is any call made for funds to support the holy cause of the abolition of slavery, they don't like the proceedings of the abolition societies. They doubt, whether the funds are properly expended, or there is some imprudence in their measures, which renders it obligatory in them to withhold their funds. Is any thing to be done for the poor, they have always some evasive measure to propose, some other and better way to supply the poor, than the one proposed. If any thing is to be done for Moral Reform, they have some objection to the course pursued by its advocates and friends. And, in short, whatever is to be done, that calls them to self-denial, or to give their possessions up to the promotion of the glory of God, they have always some objection to what is done, or some proposal to have something else done, which, if not complied with, constitutes in their mind a sufficient reason for giving and doing nothing for that object.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1841 paragraph 37 16 Lectures XXV. & XXVI. Submission to God- No.'s 1 & 2 ...

Now it should be universally understood, that true submission implies, an earnest desire to be convinced as it respects what is really the will of God--a diligent, honest inquiry after his will, and a perfect readiness to be decided and actuated by any reasonable degree of evidence, and to follow the slightest preponderance of evidence, to whatever self-sacrifice or self-denial it may lead.

4. It implies a thankful spirit, for all the past and present providential dealings of God with us. And especially a thankful spirit for those providences that have been and are most deeply afflicting to us. "God does not afflict willingly, nor grieve the children of men." And in all the afflictions of his children, the tender heart of God is afflicted. People are very apt to suppose themselves to be thankful to God for those providential dealings that seem, at the time, matters of great joy to them; while they think themselves excused from being thankful for dispensations that greatly afflict them. Indeed, they suppose themselves to be very virtuous, if they fall short of going into downright rebellion at such providences. But now let us look at this, Mother; are you a Christian? Yes. And God has given you a little blooming babe. It lies smiling at your breast. You touch its little cheek and chirp as to a little bird; and it looks up and smiles, with such a look of love as to seduce your heart into an attitude of idolatrous attachment. You hang over it when it wakes and when it sleeps. It is in your thoughts at the earliest dawn, at midday, and at evening. All the mother is awake in your soul. And as its little opening powers develop themselves, day after day, your attachment grows stronger and stronger, until it is the object of your thoughts by day, and your dreams by night. You cannot pray, without the image of your babe before you. You cannot go to the church of God, without having your warmest affections clustering around your little nursling at home. In the solemn worship of the house of God, your thoughts are upon your little idol, and you are weary with the length of the exercises, because they separate you from your little charmer. Now mark; you suppose yourself very thankful, that God has committed to you this little treasure. God loves the little one--He loves its mother. But O! He sees that this sweet gift is too much for your piety. He loves to see you pleased and happy with it. But He cannot consent to see it ruin you. Nor can He willingly see you, through your idolatrous attachment, ruin it. He puts forth his hand and plucks it from your bosom. You open your eyes, and it is gone! And O! God, as it were, turns away his face when He strikes the blow. He feels the pang, as if it had touched the apple of his eye. It has cost Him much. Viewed by itself, it is grievous to his heart thus to afflict you. It has cost Him more self-denial than all the sweet and pleasant things He ever bestowed upon you. He would sooner have borne the pain Himself, than have inflicted it upon you, could it have answered the purpose, which He has proved to a demonstration, by sooner dying for you than to inflict death upon you. O! how you have grieved his parental heart, by forcing Him thus to smite you. Do you feel grieved, when you are obliged to chastise your children? And when you feel obliged to use the rod, to deprive them of their food, or take some prompt measures to subdue their wayward tempers--is it not a matter of grief to you? Are you not more tried and afflicted by it than by all your other pains to do them good. Would you not rather often take the blows yourself, could the same end be answered by it? Indeed, do you not consider it the very climax of parental kindness, self-denial, and love, to march up to the thorough infliction of chastisement when the good of those you love so well requires it at your hand? Now what would you say of a child who, when he had grown to manhood, should look back upon his life and say, I feel grateful to my mother for watching over my helpless infancy. I thank my father for the trouble and expense of my education, and for giving me a farm, and for all the good things of his providence. But, ah! there are many dark spots in the history of my father's dealings with me, to which I find it difficult to be reconciled, and for which I feel that I am far from having any cause to be thankful. At such and such a time he chastised me. This I do not like. I remember that he did it with tears. I recollect how he trembled when he took the rod. I recollect how he lifted up his streaming eyes to heaven. I remember well, that when he had repeated the blows, he turned him away and wept. I saw and knew, that it cost him much--that his heart was bleeding at every pore--that much sooner would he receive the blows himself than have inflicted them on me.

Now do let me ask, for what portion of parental kindness are children under so great obligations of gratitude, as for that needed discipline, which so deeply wrung the parent's heart? O, you will say, of all the trials that I have ever had with my children; of all that I have ever done for them; and of all their obligations to me; I feel that those are the greatest which compel me to the self-denial of inflicting wounds on them.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1841 paragraph 150 146 Lecture XXVIII. Self Denial ...

In this discussion I shall show:

I. What self-denial is not.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1841 paragraph 160 146 Lecture XXVIII. Self Denial ...


I. What self-denial is not.

1. It is not the giving up of one form of selfishness for the sake of another form. In other words, it is not the triumph of one form of selfishness over another form of the same principle, &c.
 

(1.) Breaking off from any form of sin, for fear of the consequences of indulgence to self, is not self-denial; for this, after all, is only consulting self-interest.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1841 paragraph 161 146 Lecture XXVIII. Self Denial ...

(2.) Breaking off from any form of sin, from the expectation of reward, is not self-denial, but only consulting self-interest.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1841 paragraph 162 146 Lecture XXVIII. Self Denial ...

(3). Forsaking any form of indulgence for prudential reasons, such as regard to the health, wealth, reputation, &c. This is not self-denial, but only a regard to self-interest. It is only one form of selfishness triumphing over another.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1841 paragraph 163 146 Lecture XXVIII. Self Denial ...

(4.) Self-denial does not consist in either doing or omitting any thing whatever from selfish motives. For it is impossible to deny self for selfish reasons. It is absurd to talk of denying self to promote self-interest; for this is not self-denial, but is only denying self in one respect, for the sake of gratifying self in another respect. Self is after all at the bottom. And self-interest is the grand reason of every change of this kind.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1841 paragraph 164 146 Lecture XXVIII. Self Denial ...

(5.) Self-denial, therefore, does not consist in abandoning the use of whatever is injurious to us, because it is so.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1841 paragraph 165 146 Lecture XXVIII. Self Denial ...

(6.) Nor does self-denial consist in giving to others that for which we have no use, or the use of which could be of no service to us. There is no denying self in this.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1841 paragraph 166 146 Lecture XXVIII. Self Denial ...

(7.) Nor does self-denial consist in giving or doing that which subjects us to no privation, inconvenience, or trouble. What self-denial is there in this?

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1841 paragraph 167 146 Lecture XXVIII. Self Denial ...

(8.) Nor does it consist in that which subjects us to any degree of expense, inconvenience, trouble, reproach, or even death itself, if it be for any selfish reason; for in this case it is only consulting, upon the whole, self-interest. It is self-indulgence, instead of self-denial.

II. What self-denial is.

1. It is the denying of self, not for the sake of a greater good to self, but for the sake of doing good to others. This is really denying self.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1841 paragraph 168 146 Lecture XXVIII. Self Denial ...

2. Self-denial is a real sacrifice of self-interest, from disinterested motives; that is, from a singleness of eye, to glorify God, and do good to others.

III. What is implied in self-denial.

1. True holiness of heart, or supreme disinterested love to God. If God's glory is so preferred to our own happiness or convenience, that we deny ourselves for the sake of glorifying Him, it proves that our love to Him is supreme.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1841 paragraph 169 146 Lecture XXVIII. Self Denial ...

2. Self-denial implies disinterested love to men. If we deny ourselves for the sake of promoting their happiness, whenever their happiness is a greater good than our own, it shows that we love them according to the requirement of the law of God.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1841 paragraph 170 146 Lecture XXVIII. Self Denial ...

3. It implies the giving up of that which might be a real good to us. It is no proper denial of self, unless we might be benefited by the thing which is given up. If, as I have before said, the use of it would be an injury to us, and it be abandoned for that reason, this is rather self-indulgence than self-denial.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1841 paragraph 171 146 Lecture XXVIII. Self Denial ...

4. Self-denial implies the joyful giving up of what we need, or what might contribute to our comfort, for the purpose of doing a greater good to others. For example--here is a man who has been to the baker's, and purchased a loaf of bread for his supper. He has been laboring hard, and really needs the bread. But in passing a miserable habitation of poverty, a little, pale, emaciated child stands at the door, and, stretching out its little beggar hands, asks for bread. He is induced to enter this abode of wretchedness, and finds a widowed mother, sick and famishing, surrounded with her starving babes. He is hungry himself; but they are starving. He has no more money. If he gives his bread, he must retire without his supper. If he gives all that he has, it will afford but a scanty pittance to this starving family; but he gives it instantly. He gives it joyfully, and absolutely retires to bed without his supper, with tears of joy and gratitude, that by denying himself he has been able to keep a fatherless family from absolute starvation. This is self-denial. It was self-denial in God to send his Son to die for sinners, and self-denial in Christ to undertake and accomplish the great work of man's salvation.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1841 paragraph 173 146 Lecture XXVIII. Self Denial ...

6. Every sacrifice of lawful enjoyment, of ease, convenience, health, time, talents, property, reputation, and whatever might be lawfully enjoyed, from a disinterested desire to promote the glory of God and the greater good of the universe, is self-denial.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1841 paragraph 174 146 Lecture XXVIII. Self Denial ...

7. In short, self-denial implies, the death of selfishness. That is--self-denial and selfishness cannot exist in the mind at the same time. They are exact opposite states of mind.

IV. What is not taking up the cross.

1. It does not consist in the performance of the social and public duties of religion.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1841 paragraph 181 146 Lecture XXVIII. Self Denial ...

3. It consists in crossing natural and artificial appetites and inclinations, lest their indulgence should dishonor God and injure the souls of men; and that by thus crossing ourselves we may posses the means and opportunities of doing a greater amount of good to others. Thus bearing the cross is only a modification of self-denial. There is but a shade of difference between self-denial and cross-bearing. And this is true of all the Christian graces. They are only modifications of one great principle, benevolence.

VI. What is implied in taking up the cross.

1. It implies true holiness of heart, or disinterested benevolence to God and man; just as self-denial does.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1841 paragraph 204 146 Lecture XXVIII. Self Denial ...

3. The nature of the case shows, that these conditions are naturally indispensable to salvation. The prime idea of salvation is deliverance from sin, and confirmation in a state of holiness. And as those states of mind called self-denial, bearing the cross, and following Christ, are holiness itself, it is self-evident, that they are naturally indispensable to salvation.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1841 paragraph 207 146 Lecture XXVIII. Self Denial ...

2. True self-denial implies entire consecration, or entire sanctification. I do not speak now of continued, or permanent, but of present sanctification. To deny self from motives of disinterested benevolence, is for the time being to obey God. It is to do your duty. In other words, it is to be in a state of entire conformity to the will of God. Nothing short of this is denying self, taking up the cross, and following Christ.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1841 paragraph 208 146 Lecture XXVIII. Self Denial ...

3. The fact that so few persons know what self-denial is, by their own experience, shows how few there are who exercise self-denial.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1841 paragraph 209 146 Lecture XXVIII. Self Denial ...

4. It would seem as if ministers are the only men, in the estimation of the Church, who are expected really to exercise any self-denial. They only are expected to labor without wages, from motives of disinterested benevolence. The churches do not pretend, in scarcely any case, to give the ministers any thing like a compensation for their labors. And in multitudes of cases they give them nothing at all. They feel as if ministers are to labor for the glory of God and the good of souls, and not for "filthy lucre." It seems to be generally understood, what self-denial in ministers is. It seems to be known, that they are to labor from motives of disinterested benevolence. They may visit the sick, and spend as much time as the physician, or more than he does, without its being so much as dreamed by any one, that they ought to have any compensation for this expenditure of time and strength. They may travel about the country, and, at the earnest request of the churches, spend a Sabbath, a week, or even a number of weeks, in laboring almost night and day, until they are prostrated and ready to die with fatigue, without so much perhaps as their traveling expenses being paid. In all this they are expected to labor from disinterested benevolence. They will spend as much time and strength in promoting the good of souls, as a lawyer would do in attending to secular affairs, where his charge would be five hundred or a thousand dollars; and if the minister should ask for a dollar of compensation he would be accused of selfishness, and laboring for "filthy lucre;" while it would not be so much as expected, that a lawyer or a physician would expend so much time and strength, without charging enough to buy him a farm. Now the question is, how comes there to be such a public sentiment as this? What would be said of a minister, if he made a charge of attending on the sick and officiating at funerals--if he should charge as physicians charge, or as lawyers charge, for services rendered at home or abroad. And should he do this, when he has no salary and no earthly means of support, it would not alter the case in the public estimation; but he would be denounced as a hireling, a selfish, and an ungodly minister. Now I ask again, how came such a public sentiment as this to exist in the Church and in the world? I answer, it is founded in this fundamental mistake, that ministers, and ministers alone, are expected to serve God and men from motives of disinterested benevolence.--That ministers are bound to do all they can to glorify God and save the souls of men, whether they receive any earthly compensation or not, I admit and fully maintain.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1841 paragraph 210 146 Lecture XXVIII. Self Denial ...

I also maintain, that the churches are as solemnly bound to contribute to their support, and give them what is reasonable and just for their services as they are to support their own families, to pay their physician's bill, or the laborer that tills their ground. I am not advocating the principle, that ministers should either be allowed, or find it necessary to make a charge for preaching a sermon, a Sabbath, a week, or a month, or for visiting the sick, or for any such services. But I intend to maintain, that for all these services, they have the same right to expect a compensation from men, as lawyers, doctors, merchants, and mechanics have--that all other men are bound to be as self-denying, to perform all their services from as disinterested motives--to be willing to spend and be spent, and used all up in works of benevolence, just as ministers are bound to do. Any man, and every man has a right to expect such compensation for his labors as is reasonable and just, under the circumstances of the case. But no man has in any instance a right to make his wages the end at which he aims, and that without which he would not perform the service. The minister is to preach and labor for the glory of God and the good of souls, and not for the sake of a salary. The mechanic, the merchant, the lawyer, the physician, are all to do the same. And no one of them has a right to demand or expect any compensation, when, under similar circumstances a minister might not do the same. And now the thing I wish to impress upon your minds is this, that this public sentiment of which I am speaking reveals this alarming fact, that the Church has to a great extent lost sight of that which constitutes true religion in every body else but ministers. They expect and insist upon that in ministers, which really constitutes true religion; but that which they expect of themselves, and require of others than ministers, is nothing but sheer selfishness. They have set up one standard for ministers, and another for laymen and women. And this last has not a particle of true religion in it; for selfishness is the substance and essence of all sin; and disinterested benevolence is the substance of all true religion. And in such a world as this, to say the least, there cannot be any true religion without true self-denial. And what shall we say, when the real spirit of self-denial is so far lost sight of, and misunderstood, that only so far as it is applicable to ministers, does it seem to be recognized as even obligatory.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1841 paragraph 211 146 Lecture XXVIII. Self Denial ...

5. But no man can be saved, without the true self-denial for the good of others, which he feels that a minister ought to exercise. Whatever be your calling, except you pursue it from as disinterested motives, as much for the glory of God and the good of men, as you feel and know that ministers ought to do, you cannot by any possibility be saved. The same rule is applicable to both. What will ruin a minister's soul will ruin your soul. The requirement with respect to both is, "Whether ye eat or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God." And now let me ask you, in how many instances have you charged and received pay for services, when it would in your own estimation have ruined a minister to have done the same? Would you not feel an abhorrence of and contempt for a minister, and be one of the first to complain, and avow your convictions of his hypocrisy, should he charge for his services as you have charged for yours, and show the same reluctance to laboring without wages as you yourself do.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1841 paragraph 212 146 Lecture XXVIII. Self Denial ...

6. From this subject it is easy to see, that self-denial does not abridge the happiness of those who exercise it; but that, on the contrary, it is the readiest way to promote it. To be sure, our own happiness must not be the object at which we aim; for this would not be self-denial. The Lord Jesus Christ has said, "It is more blessed to give than to receive," and it is truly blessed to deny self for the good of others. Take the case of the man who gave the loaf to the starving family, of whom I have already spoken, and tell me, did he not experience a more noble, elevated, and soul-satisfying happiness, in saving that famishing family from starvation, than he would have done to have eaten the bread himself, although hungry and really needing it? Who can doubt it, if he was really benevolent and disinterested? I do not hesitate to say, that he who can doubt it, knows not what benevolence and self-denial are. Just so it is with all acts of real self-denial. They always afford the mind more satisfaction than an opposite course would have done; that is--the denying of self, for the sake of doing good to others, is that course of conduct most supremely pleasing and gratifying to a benevolent mind. To suppose the contrary, is a downright absurdity, a contradiction, and an overlooking of the very nature of benevolence and self-denial.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1841 paragraph 213 146 Lecture XXVIII. Self Denial ...

7. True self-denial is wholly indispensable to happiness in this world. Certainly a man cannot be happy, in any proper sense of the word, who is not benevolent. But if he is truly benevolent, in such a world as this, the wants, and woes, and ignorance, and wickedness of those around him, would keep him in a state of unspeakable agony, unless he were making self-denying efforts to do them good. Can a man act continually against the supreme, the strongest affection of his soul, without being made wretched by it? No, he cannot. Then a truly religious man, in other words, a man who is truly and disinterestedly benevolent, cannot be at peace with himself, only so far as he lays himself out for the glory of God and the good of men. I might indeed say this of all men, whether they are benevolent or not. But it is absurd, and a contradiction, to say, that in a world of wo and want like this, a truly benevolent mind can be otherwise than miserable, only as it puts forth the most strenuous exertions to relieve the woes, instruct the ignorance, and save the souls of men.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1841 paragraph 214 146 Lecture XXVIII. Self Denial ...

8. It is impossible that a truly benevolent mind, a truly religious man, should not exercise self-denial in a world like this. Benevolence is good willing. It is willing or choosing the good of others, in proportion to its relative value. The will governs the conduct. If a man, therefore, wills the good of the community in which he lives, more than he does his own individual good; if he loves his neighbor as himself, and all his neighbors as much more than he loves himself as their happiness is more valuable than his own; it is as impossible that he should not exercise self-denial for their good, as it is that he should act against his will. This brings out the demonstration that no man is a truly religious man who does not live a life of self-denial.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1841 paragraph 215 146 Lecture XXVIII. Self Denial ...

9. From this subject we see why it is, that so many seem to suppose that self-denial must necessarily abridge our own happiness. It certainly is only because they do not understand what self-denial is. They call that legal constrained giving up one form of selfishness for another self-denial. When they are really whipped out of some form of selfishness, and driven by the terrors of conscience, the thunders of Sinai, or a regard to reputation, to deny themselves some indulgence, for the sake of avoiding some great evil, or attaining some great good, they call this self-denial. And being conscious, that it is to them a grievous privation and vexation, they of course suppose that self-denial is a great burden. I have often thought, that most professors of religion secretly feel as if God's service was a hard service; as if Christ's yoke was hard, instead of being easy; and his burden heavy instead of being light--that wisdom's ways are not, in their estimation, "ways of pleasantness, and all her paths peace;" that religion is a task, an irksome, difficult, up-hill, laborious business. It is fully manifest, that that which many call religion is really such a heavy burden; but is this the religion of the Bible? Is it true religion at all? No it is slavery, legality, selfishness, death! Enough of it would make up the very essence of hell!

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1841 paragraph 216 146 Lecture XXVIII. Self Denial ...

10. The real enjoyment of self-denial is the true criterion by which its character may and must be tested. If you do not enjoy it--if it is not a real pleasure to you--that in which you delight and choose for its own sake--if, as a matter of fact, in any particular case it is not more grateful to you than any other course it is no true self-denial, but only selfishness. Be sure to remember, that self-denial consists in denying self, from motives of disinterested benevolence. If, then, you deny yourself, from such a motive, it must of necessity promote your happiness; as it is doing the thing you supremely love to do. Let it be for ever remembered, then, that that is not self-denial, which does not promote your present happiness more than self-gratification would have done. But here again, let it be noticed, that your own happiness must not be the object at which you aim; else it is not self-denial, but self-gratification, which you practice. There is a distinction as broad as daylight, ever to be remembered, between pursuing and finding your happiness in the duties of religion.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1841 paragraph 217 146 Lecture XXVIII. Self Denial ...

11. You see from this subject that God can and has exercised self-denial in the great work of Atonement, and probably in innumerable instances in the creation and government of the universe.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1841 paragraph 218 146 Lecture XXVIII. Self Denial ...

12. You see from this subject the great self-denial of Christ in all his sufferings and labors for the glory of God and the good of man.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1841 paragraph 219 146 Lecture XXVIII. Self Denial ...

13. We see that in all probability the holy angels have exercised and do continue to exercise great self-denial for the same object. The Apostle informs us that the angels "are all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister to them who shall be heirs of salvation."

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1841 paragraph 220 146 Lecture XXVIII. Self Denial ...

Now in all their conflicts with the powers of darkness, in all their journeyings to and fro--in all their watchings over, and laboring for the good of the saints, they are no doubt called to frequent acts of self-denial--to be absent from scenes in heaven that might greatly interest and benefit them--to forego many privileges, and endure much toil that is real self-denial for the sake of saving men.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1841 paragraph 221 146 Lecture XXVIII. Self Denial ...

14. We see that no one needs to pity those who are called to great self-denial for the glory of God and the good of men, for it is to them a real source of happiness. It is to them a greater good than any other course they could pursue. Christ is spoken of in the Bible as really enjoying the work of Atonement. It is said that "For the joy that was set before Him He endured the cross despising the shame." By this I do not suppose we are to understand that his personal enjoyment was the great end He had in view; but simply that as a matter of fact He counted it a pleasure and a joyful undertaking to deny Himself and bear the pains of death for sinful men. So in the case of the Apostles and primitive saints and martyrs. Their self-denial was to them a source of real and soul-satisfying enjoyment. Paul speaks of being exceedingly joyful in all his tribulations.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1841 paragraph 222 146 Lecture XXVIII. Self Denial ...

15. We are nevertheless under great obligations of gratitude to those who exercise self-denial for our good, and under the greater obligation by how much the more happiness they experience in self-denial. If they did what they do grudgingly, and in such a temper as to find no happiness in it, just in that proportion we might be certain that they were not disinterested and did not aim with a single eye at promoting our good. They are happy precisely in proportion to their disinterestedness. They are happy in denying themselves for our good in just as far as they are virtuous and really aim at our good instead of their own. Hence it follows that we are under obligations of gratitude precisely in proportion to the real happiness they experience in laboring for our good.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1841 paragraph 224 146 Lecture XXVIII. Self Denial ...

17. Let no one hope for salvation who does not live a life of daily self-denial. Observe what Christ says in the text: "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me." It is not sufficient then to practice occasional self-denial. Self must be set aside and crucified, and denied daily and continually. Your happiness must consist in disinterested endeavors to make others happy, or you never can be saved. I beg of you to understand this. Denying yourself daily, taking up your cross daily, and following Christ daily, are indispensable conditions of salvation. And the doing of this daily is as indispensable as doing it at all. Observe, Christ dies not say, if any man will come after me, let him deny himself occasionally; take up the cross occasionally; and occasionally, in seasons of special excitement and revival follow me; but the doing of these things daily is here expressly made an indispensable condition of salvation. Let me impress this upon you, for it seems generally to be understood, that if persons go so far as now and then to practice what they call self-denial--now and then to take up some cross, and occasionally, in seasons of special revival, follow Christ--that these are the conditions of salvation, and about as much as can be expected of Christians in this world. Now mark, this common opinion is a fatal error. The unalterable condition of salvation is, that these things shall be done daily--that this shall be the state of the mind, and the habitual course of life--that self-interest shall be rejected as the grand end of life--that self shall be daily denied, and that daily you shall bear the cross and follow Christ.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1841 paragraph 228 146 Lecture XXVIII. Self Denial ...

21. How ridiculous it is for persons to call such things as they often do, self-denial and bearing the cross. Some persons will abandon the use of alcohol because its use has become disreputable, or because it is injurious to their health, or because their conscience torments them in the use of it, or because they fear they shall become drunkards, disgrace and ruin themselves, and lose their souls. And this they call self-denial, when it is after all, only denying one form of selfishness for the sake of gratifying another form. In other words, they are denying one form of selfishness for the sake of promoting self-interest on a larger scale. "Verily they have their reward." Others will abandon the use of tea, coffee, tobacco, and many such-like articles, for similar reasons, and call it self-denial. But who cannot see through this?

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1841 paragraph 230 146 Lecture XXVIII. Self Denial ...

23. Our Lord Jesus Christ differed radically from multitudes of reformers. Reformers in general seem to aim at making as many proselytes to their peculiar views as possible, and are not wont to be so particular and searching as to render it very difficult for persons to fall in with and adopt their views. But Christ on the contrary, when multitudes seemed to be converted, professed to believe in Him, and to follow Him, would turn upon them and cut to the very quick, informing them plainly that they could not be his disciples at all unless they forsook all that they had; unless they would deny themselves, take up their cross and follow Him--that no man could be his disciple unless he would not only forsake all that he had, but would hate his dearest earthly relations, and even his own life for Christ's sake. This certainly was a very different policy from that which is pursued by many ministers of the gospel. They, instead of insisting upon daily self-denial, the renunciation of selfishness, and a life of entire consecration to God, as indispensable conditions of salvation and church membership, seem to leave these express conditions of Christ almost entirely out of view. And for the sake of increasing the members of the Church, practically at least, hold out very different, and almost infinitely lower conditions of salvation. Brethren, how dare you do this? I ask you solemnly before God and the Savior Jesus Christ if you do insist upon a life of daily self-denial, cross-bearing, and following Christ--if you do insist that unless men forsake all that they have and renounce selfishness in their business transactions and in all their ways, and that unless they live a life of entire consecration to God, they can by no possibility be saved, and have no right to a standing in the Church of God? Do let me ask what is the practical standard to which some of you, my brethren, as a matter of fact require persons to conform as conditions of church-membership and of salvation? Do you not virtually plead for and allow sin? Do you not virtually deny or leave out of view the great truth upon which Christ every where and so often insisted, that "except a man forsake all that he hath, deny himself and take up his cross daily, he cannot be my disciple?" Instead of making this a condition of salvation as Christ does, I ask you my brethren, and I ask the churches who hear you preach if some of you do not virtually maintain or make the impression that a state of entire consecration to God, is so far from being an indispensable condition of salvation, that it is as a matter of fact never attained in this world; or at least, that it is never attained as a state in which men do as a matter of fact for any length of time continue? Now my beloved brethren, if this is true, let me get down at your feet, and beseech you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ to consider what you are doing. How many of you are afraid to admit, avow, and maintain the doctrine of entire sanctification or consecration to God in this life? You are even afraid to allow that this state is ever attained and continued for any length of time by the best saints that ever lived on earth. But let me ask you, is not this state as a state made by the Lord Jesus Christ in these passages that I have so often quoted, an express and indispensable condition of salvation? If it is not, I beg of you, and conjure you to show what these passages do mean. What does Christ mean when he says "except a man forsake all that he hath he cannot be my disciple?" The Lord willing, I intend soon to give the Church my views of this declaration of Christ. When I say that this as a state is insisted on by the Lord Jesus Christ as an indispensable condition of salvation, I do not mean that the condition is that no occasional sin through the force of temptation is consistent with a state of real grace and with final salvation; but I do mean and maintain, that a state of entire consecration to God, or sanctification as a habitual state of mind is in the gospel, insisted upon as an indispensable condition of salvation; and that it is so far from being true, that this state as a state, with only occasional interruptions through the force of temptation, is never attained by the saints in this life, that under the gospel no one can be saved, nor ever has been saved, who has not attained and lived, and died in this state; a state in which entire sanctification is the rule, and sin only the exception.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1841 paragraph 248 237 Lecture XXIX. The True Service of God ...

2. All his moral attributes are modifications of benevolence, and his holiness consists in a disposition, under all circumstances, to do just that which is upon the whole best to be done, and most promotive of the general good, to whatever self-denial and exertion it may call Him.

II. Two kinds of service, both claiming to be rendered to God.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1841 paragraph 287 237 Lecture XXIX. The True Service of God ...

13. Unless self-denial, and the carrying out of your benevolence, work out in you a soul-satisfying happiness, you are not truly converted.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1841 paragraph 323 292 Lecture XXX. Entire Consecration a Condition of Discipleship ...

(6.) Nor will you understand the doctrines of self-denial which He teaches. Without a self-denying state of mind, without that state of mind which forsakes all that we have, and abandons selfishness in every form and degree, we shall not of course understand the doctrines of self-denial as taught by Christ.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1841 paragraph 333 292 Lecture XXX. Entire Consecration a Condition of Discipleship ...

2. So far is entire sanctification from being unattainable or a rare attainment with real Christians in this life, that it is the very beginning of true religion in all the saints. It is the very first act of obedience. This has been substantially insisted upon by all the leading orthodox writers for ages. Pres. Edwards says upon this subject, in his treatise upon the "Religious Affections," vol. 5 of his Works, pp. 264-5:

"And this point may be farther illustrated and confirmed, if it be considered, that the holy scriptures abundantly place sincerity and soundness in religion, in making a full choice of God as our only Lord and portion, forsaking all for Him, and in a full determination of the will for God and Christ, on counting the cost; in our hearts closing and complying with the religion of Jesus Christ, with all that belongs to it, embracing it with all its difficulties, as it were hating our dearest earthly enjoyments, and even our own lives, for Christ; giving up ourselves with all that we have, wholly and for ever unto Christ, without keeping back any thing or making any reserve. In one word, sincerity consists in the great duty of self-denial for Christ; or in denying, that is, as it were disowning and renouncing ourselves for Him, making ourselves nothing that He may be all. Mat. 5:29, 30: 'If thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee; for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee; for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.' Mat. 6:24: 'No man can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and Mammon.' Mat. 10:37-39: 'He that loveth father or mother more than me, is not worthy of me; and he that loveth son or daughter more than me, is not worthy of me; and he that taketh not his cross and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it; and he that loseth his life for my sake, shall find it.' Mat. 13:44-46. Luke 14:16-20, 25-33, and 16:13. Rom. 6:3-8. Gal 2:20, and 6:14. Phil. 3:7-10. 1 John 2:15. Rev. 14:4. Gen. 12:1-4, with Heb. 11:8-10. Gen. 22:12, and Heb. 11:17, 24-27. Deut. 13:6, and 33:9. Now surely having a heart to forsake all for Christ, tends to actually forsaking all for Him, so far as there is occasion, and we have the trial. Having a heart to deny ourselves for Christ, tends to denying ourselves in deed, when Christ and self-interest stand in competition. A giving up of ourselves, with all that we have, in our hearts, without making any reserve there, tends to our behaving ourselves universally as his, as subject to his will, and devoted to his ends. Our hearts entirely closing with the religion of Jesus, with all that belongs to it, and as attended with all its difficulties, upon a deliberate counting of the cost, tends to a universal closing with the same in act and deed, and actually going through all the difficulties we meet with in the way of religion, and so holding out with patience and perseverance."

Now here President Edwards expressly maintains all that is asserted in this discourse in respect to the real meaning of this text, and fully confirms the idea that entire consecration in the sense here explained is implied in "sincerity" in religion, and that it is indispensable to the existence of true religion in the soul. Indeed, he here fully asserts all that any of us at Oberlin have ever pretended to teach on the subject of entire sanctification; for observe, that he teaches in this paragraph, where he is discoursing particularly upon the nature or attributes of true religion, not only entire, but also continued sanctification. This Pres. Edwards says is indispensable to "sincerity or soundness in religion at all." And let me ask, suppose any person to be just what Pres. Edwards here asserts to belong to and implied in the very existence of religion in the soul, what more does God require of him? Just read over the paragraph again, and see if the orthodox Pres. Edwards does not teach the very doctrine, in all its length and breadth, for which we have contended. He is not speaking of some rare attainment in religion, but of that which is indispensable to the very beginning of religion, as that without which there is no "sincerity or soundness in religion."

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1841 paragraph 514 357 Lectures XXXI. & XXXII. A Seared Conscience- No.'s 1 & 2 ...

32. It is strange that so many churches who are living in the habitual indulgence of so many forms of sin, can manifest so much alarm at the idea of letting down the claims of the law of God. They hardly seem to have ever thought of practicing any self-denial, keeping their bodies under, crucifying and mortifying the flesh. Almost innumerable forms of sin are allowed to exist among them without their blushing or being at all ashamed of them. And yet they manifest a great degree of alarm lest the claims of the law should be let down, and some forms of sin allowed to escape detection, and pass without rebuke. There are many things in the present day that strongly remind one of the conduct of the scribes and Pharisees, whose fears were greatly excited on the subject of our Lord Jesus Christ's letting down the law of God. They accused him of violating the Sabbath, having a wicked spirit, and of even being possessed of the devil, and seemed to be horrified with his loose notions of the claims of the law of God. They were exceedingly zealous, and cried out with great vehemence and bitterness against his want of principle and firm adherence to the law of God. I would not on any account make any such allusions as this, or say one word unnecessarily to wound the feelings of any one. But it seems to be important at the present time to call the attention of the church to the great inconsistency of exclaiming against this letting down the law of God, while they are indulging with so little remorse in great multitudes of most manifest and even flagrant violations of the law. And while we contend for universal reformation, and obedience to the law of God, they are opposing us on the one hand for our strictness, and on the other for our looseness. Nor can they contend that our strictness extends only to some subjects of minor importance, for we do insist upon universal obedience to the law of God, in heart and life.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1841 paragraph 552 525 Lecture XXXIII. Conditions of Being Kept ...

3. He is willing; certainly, He is infinitely willing to keep it, or He would not have given his Son to die to redeem it. He would not take so much pains to get possession of it. He would not use so many means, with such long-suffering, and exercise such great self-denial as to give the life of his well beloved Son, to redeem the soul from the hands of public justice, and to persuade man to commit his soul to Him, unless He was willing with all his heart to keep it, when committed to Him upon his own conditions.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1841 paragraph 808 781 Lecture XXXV. Mediatorship of Christ ...

Now the design of Christ was, to satisfy the demands of public justice, at once to demonstrate the infinite compassion of God for his rebellious subjects, and at the same time his unalterable determination to sustain his government and enforce obedience to his law--to protect and bless the innocent--to punish and destroy the guilty. And his relation to the universe was such, that his death, I may say, was an infinitely higher expression of his compassion, on the one hand, and of his justice on the other, than could have been given in his execution of the law upon sinners.

8. I said, the mediator must be not only able, but willing to make any sacrifice necessary in order to remove the obstacles out of the way of such reconciliation. The Atonement has been looked upon by many, as an incredible doctrine, and aside from right apprehensions of the moral character of God, it is altogether the most incredible thing in the universe. That God should consent to suffer for man, would beggar all credibility, but for the fact, that his whole moral character is love or benevolence. When this is well considered--and it is a truth taught by all the works, and all the ways of God--the doctrine of Atonement is altogether the most reasonable and credible doctrine that can be conceived. If He is benevolence, it is certain, that He must be disposed to exercise mercy. But if He is benevolence, it is also certain, that He would exercise mercy with a due regard to public justice, and upon such conditions as not to endanger his authority. If God is love, it must be certain, that if infinite wisdom could devise a plan, whereby the ends of public justice might be consistent with the offer of pardon, He would not hesitate to adopt that plan, although it might call Him to the exercise of great self-denial. If his suffering in their stead a less amount than must necessarily be inflicted upon them, would not only render it proper to offer them mercy, but would prevail to bring them to repentance and make them virtuous, his being love would render it certain, that such would be the course of conduct He would pursue. Christ, then, was not only able but willing to offer his human nature a sacrifice to public justice. His human nature being taken into union with his divine nature, became a part of Himself. His blood was, therefore, the blood of God. His Atonement was the Atonement of God, in offering up his human nature unto death, that He might give to man eternal life.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1841 paragraph 814 781 Lecture XXXV. Mediatorship of Christ ...

1. In the light of this subject you see the disinterested love of Christ. O how infinitely wonderful, that He should consent to undertake such an office as this, fully knowing as He did the immense sacrifice to which it would call Him--the immense amount of shame, persecution, agony, and death and for what? For Himself?--to promote some selfish interest? No! But from disinterested love to you and me. What an exhibition of self-denial, his whole life being only an accumulation of sufferings, reproach, ridicule, and opposition. How great his mental agonies must have been. In the midst of a world created by Him, and yet ruining themselves with their blasphemous opposition to Him!

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1842 paragraph 325 306 Lecture V. Ordination ...

13. Take heed that you do not get a self-indulging wife, one who is afraid of self-denial, afraid of being poor, afraid to work herself or have you work hard for the good of souls. Some minister's wives are always afraid of trouble, of labor, of poverty, of care--so much afraid their husbands will over work themselves as to be always right in their way. Take heed to yourselves that you become not united to such a woman as this.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1842 paragraph 398 371 Lecture VI. Wisdom Justified of Her Children ...

9. The same doctrines are understood differently by different persons, according to their different states of mind. The doctrine of self-denial, is understood by some, not as the deposing of self, the enthroning of God in the heart, the devotion of the whole being to Him, and doing every thing, even eating and drinking, for his glory. But to them, the doctrine of self-denial, is a system of penance, of outward retrenchments, of bodily mortifications, a denial and trampling down, of the very nature of man. Fastings, celibacy, and multitudes of monkish tricks, seem to be indispensable to their ideas of self-denial. They do not understand that in all these things, to what extremes soever they may be carried, there is not necessarily one particle of Christian self-denial. But these are oftentimes nothing else than the manifestations of a legal spirit, as may be seen in this. They are connected with an acid and vexed state of mind, a spirit of complaining and censoriousness--a disposition to complain of every body that does not fall in with their particular views, and come up to their particular standard.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1842 paragraph 399 371 Lecture VI. Wisdom Justified of Her Children ...

10. Others understand the doctrine of Christian self-denial to mean nothing more than abstinency from outward extravagance. And to abstain from extravagance with them, is to keep a little back from going beyond every body else in self-indulgence.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1842 paragraph 400 371 Lecture VI. Wisdom Justified of Her Children ...

11. But another class who are wise, understand the doctrine of self-denial to be as it is, a total renunciation of selfishness in all its forms, the doing, and using, and being every thing for the glory of God. They understand the doctrine of self-denial to require them to hold every thing, even life itself, at the absolute disposal of God, in so high a sense, as not to count their own lives dear to them, if the cause of Christ demands that they should be given up--that while they thus hold their lives and their all at the disposal of God, they do not wantonly and recklessly cast their lives away as a thing of nought, but carefully preserve and enjoy their lives, while, in the Providence of God, permitted to do so. And so in regard to every thing else which they have and are. While every thing is held at God's disposal, they do not recklessly cast away and squander, or give away, to be squandered by the improvident around them, the useful things, which God has put in their possession, but temperately and thankfully use such of them, as can conduce to their health, comfort, or usefulness, until the Providence of God shall call for the relinquishment of some or all of them; for his glory. Then they count these things not dear to them, but yield instant possession, not only without gainsaying, but with joyfulness.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1842 paragraph 406 371 Lecture VI. Wisdom Justified of Her Children ...

1. The truly wise may be known by the manner in which they are affected by the truth. Preach to them whatever doctrine you will, if it be true they will understand it, be edified by it, and be sure to make a wise improvement of it, self-denial, or Christian liberty, Christian forbearance, or whatever doctrine you will, it will find its counter-balance in their minds--will not carry them to extremes, but will be the instrument of their sanctification. They that are not truly wise or religious will be seen to be injuriously affected by almost every truth you preach. Either they will not be moved by it in any direction, or they will go to such extremes as to develop a monstrosity of character. Wisdom is justified of all her children. I understand this to be a universal truth. And that this is the real characteristic, not only of some of these, but of all of those who are truly wise.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1842 paragraph 411 371 Lecture VI. Wisdom Justified of Her Children ...

6. Whenever the mind has fallen into a misapprehension of any doctrine, and has consequently received a wrong bias, any attempt to correct that bias by the exhibition of the truth will shock prejudice, and give pain. For example: let one who has embraced the ultra doctrine of the non-resistants listen to a correct exhibition of the rights, necessity, and duties of government, the true principle of self-defense and self-preservation, and he will feel almost as much shocked as if he should witness the fighting of a duel. So let one who has embraced the idea of the doctrine of self-denial, which has been entertained in different ages of the Church by many persons, as requiring little less than a system of mendicancy--let such a one listen to a discourse on the doctrine of Christian liberty, and he will feel almost as much shocked as if you were granting indulgences to extravagance. So let one who has imbibed wrong notions on the subject of Christian retrenchment, that it requires Christians to give up every thing but the mere necessaries of life, with whom it is a violation of Christian principle to use elliptic springs upon his wagon, or a top, or boot--to build a cornice on a house--to have a button on your coat where you do not need to use it--who will not allow that any thing is due to the eye or the ear--with such an one, improvements in the arts, the cultivation of music, painting, poetry, improvements in the style of building, in orders of architecture, in short almost all improvement in the physical condition of mankind, are regarded with jealousy if not with pain. He would listen to a discourse in which a true application of the law of God should be made to all such things, with unutterable pain, principally because of the perverted state of his mind, by a false view of the subject.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1843 paragraph 38 24 Lecture I. Prove All Things ...

11. The terms which represent the attributes of Christian character, or what are commonly called the Christian graces, are almost never rightly defined. The definitions which are given scarcely ever represent the right idea, for example, of love, faith, repentance, self-denial, and humility. It is manifest that but few know how to define them. Why? Because they have not complied with the requirement of the text. And because these attributes of holiness are not rightly defined, they are misunderstood, and the result is that they are not exhibited in the lives of Christians. We see one picture drawn in the Bible, and quite another in real life. The former is beautiful and glorious, the latter--how sadly deformed. Why? Because the mass are mistaken, and mistaken as the result of incorrect views respecting the nature of true piety.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1845 paragraph 293 269 Lectures VI. & VII.The Church Bound to Convert the World- No.'s 1 & 2 ...

8. Another condition of success is the practice of all needed self-denial. This is requisite in order to furnish the means and the devoted men and women to go forth to every nook and corner of the world where human beings are, and proclaim to them the gospel of salvation. We want men who are willing to take their lives in their hands, who have health and strength and heart to the work, and who can labor as some of our missionaries are laboring among the Indians, and as some of the African missionaries do, and as some others do in various parts of the world. We need hundreds and thousands of these men, men like minded, or rather men possessing a hundred fold more if possible of faith, patience and power than these already in the field. I would not find fault in general with the men that are engaged in this work, nor say any thing that should imply a want of consecration in them, but they are laboring almost single handed, greatly straitened for want of means, and their calls for help are unutterably agonizing. What do they tell us they could do under God in converting the world if they had the men and the means? But recently I saw an account of an address delivered by a British missionary from India, in which he affirmed that the obstacles throughout India to the spread of the Gospel were fewer than they were in England, that if twenty thousand missionaries could at once be set down in India they might go everywhere preaching the gospel to large and attentive congregations, in which not a man could be found that had ever heard the gospel before; that the land is all open, the fields are white and waving for the harvest, and nothing needed but men and means, and faith in Christ to fire the train and spring the mind, and as it were blow up the very kingdom of the devil. O what a call is this! O what a door is here opened for the church to enter and achieve the world's conversion!

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1845 paragraph 321 269 Lectures VI. & VII.The Church Bound to Convert the World- No.'s 1 & 2 ...

From this subject we can easily see how great a mistake was made by the church soon after the death of the Apostles. Various causes soon came into operation that developed an ascetic idea of religion. This immediately diverted the church from the great end of the world's conversion to seek after what they imagined to be a higher state of spirituality. Soon after the Apostle's days, as we learn from history, and indeed to some extent while some of the Apostles were yet living, the idea had gained considerable currency that the world was coming to an end; that Christ's second advent was at hand; and that He was coming to judge the world. This idea doubtless had great influence in bringing about the state of things which I am just about to mention. They seem to have given up the idea of the world's conversion and supposed mankind to be, at least chiefly, devoted to destruction. Great multitudes retreated from the world and betook themselves to what they supposed to be a strictly religious life, practicing celibacy and various austerities, mortifications, and self-denials. They shut themselves out from society and lived in seclusion, seeming to suppose that to live in the world and associate with men as Christ and His apostles had done, was not consistent with the highest degrees of spirituality. They therefore betook themselves to an entirely different course of life, lost altogether the true idea of religion, and attempted to be spiritual without a particle of benevolence, or, in other words, without religion. They sought a spirituality that was anything but true Christianity. Instead of pressing the world's conversion with ardor, they began to build nunneries and monasteries and to establish institutions for the very purpose of secluding the spiritual ones from intercourse with the world. They shut themselves up in those places of spurious spirituality. Every reader of church history must be acquainted with the deplorable and fundamental mistake into what a great part of the church thus fell. Here, to a great extent, the efforts for the world's conversion ceased. Here a dark cloud shut down over the prospects of dying humanity.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1845 paragraph 442 429 Lecture X. Coming Up through Great Tribulation ...

These are among the most severe trials they have or can have. Often they would not suffer more in the flames of martyrdom than they do under these hidings of the face of God. The man whose case I just now mentioned might better have burned at the stake than have endured the agony he did. The history of the church has taught us abundantly that under any amount of outward losses and pains, the soul may still be calm and peaceful, nay joyful, if the light of God shine on it. What Christian would not promptly say, Give me the light of God's face, and then I can bear the loss of all things else. All are not so much to my present enjoyment each moment as my God.

3. Another portion of these tribulations consists in the Christian's struggle with his own weaknesses and infirmities. I allude now particularly to those which result from the flesh and from habits of sensual indulgence. It often happens that these pernicious habits, during a long career of indulgence acquire the rigidity and strength of iron. Hence it costs the convert a mighty struggle to overcome them.

Some years since a man came into this place and called to see me at my study, who had long been a slave to the habit of using tobacco. When he came to see the claims of God upon his conscience to exercise self-control and self-denial, he was thrown into a fearful conflict. He fell on the floor of my study, and groaned and wailed out in agony, "I am an undone man. I never can subdue this tyrant appetite." Nor is this a solitary or a very peculiar case. Every saint who attempts to overcome and hold in complete subjection to reason and the will of God all his constitutional tendencies to self-indulgence will find work enough for severe conflict. Indeed were the whole diary of some Christians to be written out on this subject, you would see the drawing of many a battlefield, and you might be amazed to learn that the subjection of the flesh costs so many struggles, tears, and groans, and so much prayer ere victory is gained.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1845 paragraph 599 574 Lecture XIII. Relations of Christ to the Believer ...

3. There must be a hungering and thirsting after Christ--a state of mind ripe for giving up every thing that stands in the way of receiving Christ. We must be ready to renounce self altogether and put the Lord Jesus Christ on the vacant throne. Christ must take the place so long held by self.

During my ministry I have seen striking cases of persons who have groped a long time after Christ as if they were ready to embrace him if they might find him, but yet when the idea of embracing Christ came to be fully developed, and they saw what it really was, they drew suddenly back and would not embrace such a Savior on such conditions. Before, they thought themselves quite ready and anxious to get such a Savior as they supposed Christ to be; but when they saw how much self-denial and self-renunciation were implied in receiving Christ, they turned away like the young man in the gospel history--"sorrowful--for he had great possessions." How could he make up his mind to give them all away?

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1845 paragraph 681 632 Lecture XIV. The Folly of Refusing to be Saved ...

It is at least safe to say that there would be bitter grief over the career of folly. How does that praying mother feel? I knew him well, she says, he was needy and I took him into my family and boarded him; he was sick, and I nursed him; he was far from God and I prayed for him, and with many tears have I besought him to return to his own Savior--O must it be in vain! And there is the agent who labored to collect funds to sustain the Institution. Faint and sick he held on his weary way, gathering up the little offerings made by piety and self-denial upon the altar of Immanuel. He wanted to raise up a spiritual ministry; he felt that the world needed such a ministry and he would not shrink from being spent in such a service. And yet, to such an institution you come and pervert all its facilities for education that you may train yourself for mightier warfare against God, and for pulling down a heavier damnation upon your own head.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1846 paragraph 745 705 Lecture XI. Quenching the Spirit ...

All these results sometimes accrue from neglect of plainly revealed duty. Men shrink from known duty through fear of the opinions of others, or through dislike of some self-denial. In this crisis of trial the Spirit does not leave them in a state of doubt or inattention as to duty, but keeps the truth and the claims of God vividly before the mind. Then if men go on and commit the sin despite of the Spirit's warnings,--the soul is left in awful darkness--the light of the Spirit of God is quenched perhaps forever.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1848 paragraph 237 221 Lecture IV. Conditions of Being Saved ...

The fact is, there are things for you to do which God cannot do for you. Those things which he has enjoined and revealed as the conditions of your salvation, He cannot and will not do Himself. If He could have done them Himself, He would not have asked you to do them. Every sinner ought to consider this. God requires of you repentance and faith because it is naturally impossible that any one else but you should do them. They are your own personal matters--the voluntary exercises of your own mind; and no other being in heaven, earth, or hell can do these things for you in your stead. As far as substitution was naturally possible, God has introduced it, as in the case of the atonement. He has never hesitated to march up to meet and to bear all the self-denials which the work of salvation has involved.

6. If you mean to be saved, you must not wait for God to do anything whatever. There is nothing to be waited for. God has either done all on his part already, or if anything more remains, He is ready and waiting this moment for you to do your duty that He may impart all needful grace.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1848 paragraph 240 221 Lecture IV. Conditions of Being Saved ...

It is amazing that men should hope to be sanctified and saved by this great error, or indeed by any error whatever. God says you must be sanctified by the truth. Suppose you could believe this delusion, would it make you holy? Do you believe that it would make you humble, heavenly-minded, sin-hating, benevolent? Can you believe any such thing? Be assured that Satan is only the father of lies, and he cannot save you--in fact, he would not if he could; he intends his lies not to save you, but to destroy your very soul, and nothing could be more adapted to its purpose. Lies are only the natural poison of the soul. You take them at your peril!

8. Don't seek for any self-indulgent method of salvation. The great effort among sinners has always been to be saved in some way of self-indulgence. They are slow to admit that self-denial is indispensable--that total, unqualified self-denial is the condition of being saved. I warn you against supposing that you can be saved in some easy, self-pleasing way. Men ought to know, and always assume that it is naturally indispensable for selfishness to be utterly put away and its demands resisted and put down.

I often ask--Does the system of salvation which I preach so perfectly chime with the intuitions of my reason that I know from within myself that this gospel is the thing I need? Does it in all its parts and relations meet the demands of my intelligence? Are its requisitions obviously just and right? Do its prescribed conditions of salvation obviously befit man's moral position before God, and his moral relations to the government of God?

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1848 paragraph 279 221 Lecture IV. Conditions of Being Saved ...

5. You must seek supremely to please Christ, and not yourself. It is naturally impossible that you should be saved until you come into this attitude of mind--until you are so well pleased with Christ in all respects as to find your pleasure in doing his. It is in the nature of things impossible that you should be happy in any other state of mind, or unhappy in this. For, his pleasure is infinitely good and right. When therefore his good pleasure becomes your good pleasure, and your will harmonizes entirely with his, then you will be happy for the same reason that He is happy, and you cannot fail of being happy any more than Jesus Christ can. And this becoming supremely happy in God's will is essentially the idea of salvation. In this state of mind you are saved. Out of it you cannot be.

It has often struck my mind with great force, that many professors of religion are deplorably and utterly mistaken on this point. Their real feeling is that Christ's service is an iron collar, an insufferably hard yoke. Hence they labour exceedingly to throw off some of this burden. They try to make it out that Christ does not require much if any self-denial--much if any deviation from the course of worldliness and sin. O, if they could only get the standard of Christian duty quite down to a level with the fashions and customs of this world! How much easier then to live a Christian life and wear Christ's yoke!

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1848 paragraph 283 221 Lecture IV. Conditions of Being Saved ...

But you say--"O, I am a sinner, and how can I believe? I know you are a sinner, and so are all men to whom God has given these promises. "O, but I am a great sinner!" Well, "It is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners, of whom," Paul says, "I am the chief" So you need not despair.

7. You must forsake all that you have, or you cannot be Christ's disciple. There must be absolute and total self-denial.

By this I do not mean that you are never to eat again, or never again to clothe yourself, or never more enjoy the society of your friends--no, not this; but that you should cease entirely from using any of these enjoyments selfishly. You must no longer think to own yourself--your time, your possessions, or anything you have ever called your own. All these things you must hold as God's, not yours. In this sense you are to forsake all that you have, namely, in the sense of laying all upon God's altar to be devoted supremely and only to his service. When you come back to God for pardon and salvation, come with all you have to lay all at his feet. Come with your body, to offer it as a living sacrifice upon his altar. Come with your soul and all its powers, and yield them in willing consecration to your God and Saviour. Come, bring them all along--everything, body, soul, intellect, imagination, acquirements--all, without reserve. Do you say--Must I bring them all? Yes, all--absolutely ALL; do not keep back any thing--don't sin against your own soul like Ananias and Sapphira, by keeping back a part, but renounce your own claim to everything, and recognize God's right to all. Say, Lord, these things are not mine. I had stolen them, but they were never mine. They were always thine; I'll have them no longer. Lord, these things are all thine, henceforth and forever. Now, what wilt Thou have me to do? I have no business of my own to do--I am wholly at thy disposal--Lord, what work hast thou for me to do?

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1849 paragraph 458 442 Lecture X. The Spirit of Christ, and the Spirit of True Christianity ...

Often when you are thinking of His self-denials and sacrifices you ask yourself, How can this be? What motive could have induced such a course of life and of suffering? But when you get your eye upon His state of mind and see the deep love of His heart for the souls of men, all is explained. It is perfectly in accordance with a law of our mind that we count everything else of trifling value compared with the one great end upon which the heart is set. Who has not experienced at least some degree of this? When your heart has been set upon some great worldly good--property, a valued companion for life, some post of honor and emolument,--you have not deemed it a great thing to labor and toil and make many sacrifices. How many count it no great hardship to labor and toil their life long to secure a competence for themselves and their families.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1849 paragraph 460 442 Lecture X. The Spirit of Christ, and the Spirit of True Christianity ...

Now let any man have the same end in view that Christ had and he too will account all things but loss for such an object. Self-denial will be as easy and natural as a second nature. By the very laws of our mind, it is sweet to deny ourselves of a lesser good for the sake of a greater. Husbands and wives deem it no hardship to deny themselves of positive good for each other's benefit, the pleasure of giving scope to their deep and pure affection for each other readily overbalances and throws into the shade all the hardships they may be called to endure for each other's welfare. That mother will labor till her strength is gone that she may meet the wants of the children she loves. That father will toil till he is bent and worn with years and many infirmities--so does the love of his household fill his heart, and make toil for them a daily pleasure. The fond mother will toil over her washtub year after year to educate her son at college, until at last, he comes forth a young man of promise, and she says--"I am more than paid for all my sacrifices and all my toils." You might perhaps have entered her humble dwelling at some hour when most ladies are at leisure, but you find her over her washtub. You accost her--"Madam, I am indeed sorry that you have so hard a lot--that you are doomed to such and so much labor." "Are you indeed," she replies; "I am glad of it. I enjoy it. There you see my dear children educating themselves I trust for God, and to serve their generation according to the will of God, and it is my daily joy to toil and suffer if need be for such an object. I can endure any cross and despise any shame for their sakes." You, my hearers, have seen exemplifications of this principle even among yourselves. It may have occurred to you as it has often to me that such cases develop the same spirit which we see in the case of the Lord Jesus Christ, "who for the joy set before Him, endured the cross despising the shame." It is only what we always see when the mind lays hold of the great end that God lays hold of. Then men cannot grudge the sacrifices they may be called to make, however great, or frequent, or long protracted, any more than God does.

REMARKS.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1849 paragraph 466 442 Lecture X. The Spirit of Christ, and the Spirit of True Christianity ...

6. True Christians find their life by sacrificing it. They find their bread by throwing it on the waters; it comes to them after many days. Their own highest well-being they secure by laying their souls and their all upon the altar. Jesus Christ set them an example. He did not come to our world to please Himself. No; He came to do the will of His Father in heaven. In thus living to please God and secure the good of being, sacrificing even His own life for this end, He saved His life in the noblest sense. By self-denial He obtained the highest possible good to Himself.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1849 paragraph 471 442 Lecture X. The Spirit of Christ, and the Spirit of True Christianity ...

Yet the real truth must forever remain; religion must be a source of real joy to its possessor. Look at the case of the mother who toils day and night for the education of her children. Ask her how she can endure such a life of toil, and she will tell you, "I enjoy the labor and the toil for the end I have in view." Ask the missionaries. You may suppose that their whole life is misery--that their numerous self-denials and sacrifices must make them wretched; but if you think so, you have made one of the greatest mistakes. These self-denials and sacrifices constitute their revenue and income of daily happiness.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1849 paragraph 474 442 Lecture X. The Spirit of Christ, and the Spirit of True Christianity ...

This is just like all true religion. It forgets its own labors and self-denials. You may go and talk to the Christian of his labors and of his self-denials, and pity him; but you don't understand his case. He is the last man to think of his toils or to pity himself. Look at the men who go to the wilds of the far West. You say to them, Brethren, you must be very unhappy; how could you bear to leave your mother and your dear brothers and sisters? They reply--You do not understand the nature of our work. We have meat to eat that you know not of. We are laboring for Jesus Christ, and He never fails to give us our wages.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1849 paragraph 481 442 Lecture X. The Spirit of Christ, and the Spirit of True Christianity ...

Great mistakes are wont to be made in this matter. Indeed sinners usually make them. Many suppose that to give up all idea of being rich is almost awful. It is a great thing, scarcely to be endured for any consideration. That young man says in his heart, Why should I go and preach and toil for almost nothing, laboring for a very small salary and for a most ungrateful people? Ah indeed! You cannot make up your mind to follow in the steps of Him who "had not where to lay His head," and who "came unto His own and His own received Him not." It would involve too many sacrifices! But did you not know that after all, the most devoted and self-sacrificing ministers of Christ, are among the happiest people in the world? You entirely mistake, young man, if you think otherwise. Even when nobody thanks them, God smiles on their souls and all is joy and blessedness within. If nobody else gives to supply their wants, God does. He knows how to supply the great deep want of the soul for peace and joy, and He is not forgetful to do so towards His faithful, self-denying servants. Ask the faithful missionary of the cross in what portion of his life he has had most satisfaction. You will be told that by how much the more he has sacrificed, by so much the greater is his joy. He will say to you--I love my work; it is good for me to endure the cross, despising the shame. Ask any true missionary--Are you rewarded for your toils and self-denials? He will reply--O if I might see salvation flow to those heathen tribes, it would be my greatest joy. Nothing else could make me so happy. It is the hope of this success and the consciousness of pleasing God in my labors that makes all my toils sweet. Why should I not give myself up to such a work with my utmost might?

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1849 paragraph 495 442 Lecture X. The Spirit of Christ, and the Spirit of True Christianity ...

Do you ask, Who will show me any good? I will show you all the good you can ever need. I have been showing you today where real good is to be found. You have money, and do you ask, what money is good for? To do good with. This is all. What is the strong arm for, and the ardor of youthful energy? To do good with--nothing else. O young man, you who do not want to be a minister of the gospel because there will be so much hardship and so little emolument--if you don't know the peace and blessedness of self-denial, you know nothing yet as you need to know. You have not yet begun to learn how to live for real blessedness.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1849 paragraph 497 442 Lecture X. The Spirit of Christ, and the Spirit of True Christianity ...

Brethren, is it a matter of real experience with you that you enjoy your religion? Do you enjoy it even without any of the accompaniments of superadded respectability, and public confidence, and social regard? Do you enjoy the simple business of doing good, in itself, and for its own sake? Is self-denial for Christ's sake, a positive enjoyment to you in view of the great and glorious end of the joy set before you of honoring God and doing good? Does your religion, attended though it be with many toils and trials, become to you daily the very elixir of life? How is this?

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1849 paragraph 700 636 Lecture XIV. Faith the Work of God ...

4. Sinners look upon religion in a selfish light, and hence regard it as gloomy, cheerless; and its self-denials as a life of painfulness. Judging of its duties by their own state of mind and principles of action, they see it only repulsive and profitless. Since it does not promise them earthly riches, or earthly honor, or sensual delight, they see no beauty in it that they should desire it. Since it demands a reasonable subjection of those appetites which they delight to indulge, they think it a most burdensome system. If they would look at it, in a directly opposite point of view, they might see it as it is. Is it any self denial or hardship for Love to seek to please? There is real affection between that mother and her child. Now why does she make up a little nosegay and bring it in so cheerfully and sweetly to her little one? Is this a grievous act of self denial to the affectionate mother?

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1849 paragraph 701 636 Lecture XIV. Faith the Work of God ...

Or observe how the sea-captain gathers up the choicest things he can from the ends of the earth to bring home to the wife he loves. Is this a hardship? Does he drag out a miserable bondage in performing services of this sort for his beloved wife? If not, then you may know how to judge of the self-denials and hardships of the true Christian's life. It is not the gospel Christian, but the legalist, who is dragging his snail's pace up the hard hill of his religious life. Ah, his whole religion is nothing better than penance--a penance of such sort as God neither asks nor accepts. Sinner, you misconceive of religion, and your misconception results from your selfishness. If in the place of selfishness you had true love to God, you would see far other things in religion than what you now see. Go and ask that young convert how all these waters of life taste to him. He will tell you that they are sweeter than the honey or the honey-comb. If you would know this, try it. O, when will you understand what religion is, and having understood it, yield your heart at once in obedience to its claims? Then should your peace be like a river, and your righteousness as the waves of the sea.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1851 paragraph 169 157 Lecture IV. The Wicked Heart Set to do Evil ...

So everywhere, to yield to the demands of appetite and passion against God's claims, is grievous sin. All men are bound to fear and obey God, however much self-denial and sacrifice it may cost.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1851 paragraph 304 284 Address to the Graduating Classes of Oberlin College.

Now therefore, if you forget this as though it were not so; if you forget that you were educated in God's College--a College reared with more prayers and tears, amid more toils and opposition than perhaps any other--if you forget this, you cannot show yourselves men. To forget this, and live in disregard of its accruing obligations must disgrace you. It will show that you are anything else than honorable men. It will show that you are strangely forgetful of your responsibilities to the praying and toiling men, the fruit of whose labors you have been so freely enjoying. You know too much about the sacrifices and toils of the men who founded this College, and of the men who still bear the burden of its support and of its labors--too much to allow you without dishonor to cast off your obligation to meet those great ends for which they toil and have toiled so intensely. They have labored on this ground not for self, but for God--not because they could not get a living elsewhere, with more ease, but because they sought to do God's work--sought to raise up men for God who should fill their own places after they had gone. The men whose labors you have enjoyed here have been trained in the school of adversity. They have deeply learned Christ amid reproach, toils and self-denials. Now, therefore, when they freely pour out their sympathies and toils in your behalf, if you abuse it all, and use it for yourselves and not for God, how recreant are you to your high obligations! How very far indeed is this from showing yourselves men!

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1851 paragraph 316 284 Address to the Graduating Classes of Oberlin College.

I cannot tell you how much I was affected at the late Christian Anti-slavery Convention at Chicago. I had never met elsewhere so many of our students who have gone abroad to bear their testimony for God. It was not to me a matter of pride, but of devout thanksgiving to God. There I saw more than I had ever seen before what those men are doing who have gone forth from these halls of study and prayer. I saw how they are struggling to sustain every good cause, and with what zeal and self-denial they are spending and being spent in God's work. One young man returning homeward with me on the cars, sought out my seat in the darkness of the night, and with tears confessed how little he had appreciated his responsibilities while here at school, and how grateful he felt now for those instructions. I also could not but feel grateful to God for the privilege of laboring for God in training such young men for his work on earth.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1852 paragraph 120 102 Lecture III. God's Love to Sinners as Seen in the Gospel ...

Mark also the lowliness of this love. See how low it stoops. Of the great Impersonation of this love it was said, "He took on Him the form of a servant, and made Himself of no reputation." He was meek and lowly of heart. Such was the condescension of the Son of God! Scarcely if at all less was the condescension of the Infinite Father. Think at how great expense He provided the means of your salvation. Think of the self-denial to which He submitted. Do you ask--what did He do? Gave up to death His only Son. Gave Him, freely, not for money but for love. When Abraham called of God, went forth to offer up Isaac, and when he had freely shown his purpose of heart to obey God and trust Him if need be to raise up his slaughtered son from the dead, God said to him, "Because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son, therefore have I sworn by myself that I will greatly bless thee, and will greatly multiply thy seed, even as the stars of heaven." It was a strong point in Abraham's case that he did not withhold his only son. So also, God did not spare His only Son, but freely gave Him up for an offering. In the case of Abraham, he only brought his only son to the altar and drew his knife--there God's angel caught his arm and pointed out a ram for the real offering. But when God gave up His only Son, the demands of justice against the sinner took their course upon his substitute, and the innocent victim was brought to the slaughter. Nailed to the cross, He bled, agonized, languished and died! Was ever love like that?

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1853 paragraph 61 18 Lecture I. Prayer and Labor for the Gathering of The Great Harvest ...

It is painful to see that many are committing themselves in some way or other against the work. They are putting themselves in a position which of itself forbids their engaging in it. But do let me ask you, young men, can you expect ever to be saved if, when you have the power and the means to engage in this work, you have no heart for it? No, indeed! You knock in vain at the gate of the blessed! You may go there and knock;-- but what will be the answer? Are ye my faithful servants? Were ye among the few, faithful among the faithless--quick and ready at your Master's call? O no, no; you studied how you could shun the labor and shirk the self-denial! I know you not! Your portion lies without the city walls!

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1853 paragraph 64 18 Lecture I. Prayer and Labor for the Gathering of The Great Harvest ...

8. You can see what it is to be a Christian, and what God demands of men at conversion. The turning point is--Will you really and honestly serve God? With students especially the question is wont to be--Will you abandon all your ambitious schemes and devote yourself to the humble, unambitious toil of preaching Christ's gospel to the poor? Most of this class are ambitious and aspiring; they have schemes of self-elevation, which it were a trial to renounce altogether. Hence with you, your being a Christian and being saved at last will turn much, perhaps altogether, on your giving yourself up to this work in the true self-denial of the gospel spirit.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1853 paragraph 106 70 Lecture II. Men Invited to Reason Together With God ...

10. Remind Him also of your dependence on Him, and that you set out in the Christian life with the understanding that without his grace to help, you could do nothing. Tell him you have consecrated yourself to Him in distinct reliance upon his promised aid, and that you cannot endure to fall so far short of what you had hoped, and what you have promised and expected. Tell him of your willingness to make any sacrifice--that there is nothing you are unwilling to give up--that you are willing to forego your good name and to lay your reputation wholly upon his altar--that there is not one sacrifice you are not willing to make and you beg of Him if He sees a single thing held so dear to your heart that you are not willing to sacrifice it for his sake, to show you what it is, and press you to forsake it. Assure Him that if self-denial comes in his service you are willing to meet all the consequences. You are ready to confess his grace to you and not conceal it from the great congregation. Can you say this? If so, do it. Tell him you are ready to die to the world--ready to give it all up and renounce it utterly and forever. You are determined you will have no more fellowship with the works of darkness--to have the world become dead to you and you to the world. You are ready to meet all and bear all that the service of Christ may impose and involve. No matter if the world disowns you and casts you out from its regard and fellowship. You have counted the cost and are ready to meet it all.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1853 paragraph 228 215 Lecture V. God's Love for A Sinning World ...

It would have been a very short method to have turned over his hand upon the wicked of our race, and sent them all down quick to hell, as once He did when certain angels "kept not their first estate." Rebellion broke out in heaven. Not long did God bear it, around his lofty throne. But in [the] case of man he changed his course--did not send them all to hell, but devised a vast scheme of measures, involving most amazing self-denials and self-sacrifices, to gain men's souls back to obedience and heaven.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1853 paragraph 239 215 Lecture V. God's Love for A Sinning World ...

6. The sacrifice was a most self-denying one. Did it cost the Father nothing to give up his own beloved Son to suffer, and to die such a death? If this be not self-denial, what can be? Thus to give up his Son to so much suffering,--is not this the noblest self-denial? The universe never could have the idea of great self-denial, but for such an exemplification.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1853 paragraph 270 215 Lecture V. God's Love for A Sinning World ...

The whole effort on the part of God for man is one of suffering and self-denial. Beginning with the sacrifice of His own beloved Son, it is carried on with ever-renewed sacrifices and toilsome labours--at great and wonderful expense. Just think how long a time these efforts have been protracted already--how many tears, poured out like water, it has cost--how much pain in many forms this enterprise has caused and cost--yea, that very sin which you roll as a sweet morsel under your tongue! God may well hate it when He sees how much it costs, and say--O do not that abominable thing that I hate!

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1853 paragraph 271 215 Lecture V. God's Love for A Sinning World ...

Yet God is not unhappy in these self-denials. So great is his joy in the results, that he deems all the suffering but comparatively a trifle, even as earthly parents enjoy the efforts they make to bless their children. See them; they will almost work their very hands off;--mothers sit up at night to ply their needle till they reel with fatigue and blindness--but if you were to see their toil, you would often see also their joy, so intensely do they love their children.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1853 paragraph 272 215 Lecture V. God's Love for A Sinning World ...

Such is the labour, the joy, and the self-denial of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost, in their great work for human salvation. Often are they grieved that so many will refuse to be saved. Toiling on in a common sympathy, there is nothing, within reasonable limits, which they will not do or suffer to accomplish their great work. It is wonderful to think how all creation sympathizes too in this work and its necessary sufferings. Go back to the scene of Christ's sufferings. Could the sun in the heavens look down unmoved on such a scene? O no, he could not even behold it--but veiled his face from the sight! All nature seemed to put on her robes of deepest mourning. The scene was too much for even inanimate nature to bear. The sun turned his back and could not look down on such a spectacle!

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1853 paragraph 274 215 Lecture V. God's Love for A Sinning World ...

Martyrs and saints enjoy their sufferings--filling up in themselves what is lacking of the sufferings of Christ; not in the atonement proper but in the subordinate parts of the work to be done. It is the nature of true religion to love self-denial.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1853 paragraph 523 506 Lecture XI. Jehovah's Appeal to Sinners and Backsliders ...

3. Or has He required too much self-denial of you, or of such sort as would really injure you? Has He taken away your friends arbitrarily, with no good reasons? Has He smitten you and drawn blood from your heart unfeelingly, as if He did not care how much pain He caused you? Has He taken away your property or your children in a hard and apparently unfeeling way? If you dare to think so, tell Him so. Say, "O, Lord, didst Thou not cut down my husband or my wife, reckless of the pain and the agony it would cost me?" Did he die hard, in great pain and racking torture? And was this done on God's part without consideration? Nay, was it not all mercy and kindness on His part? Has He not told you that He never does afflict willingly, or grieve the children of men for His own pleasure?

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1854 paragraph 68 58 Lecture II. Christ Our Advocate with The Father ...

II. In the existence of this office it is implied,


1. That there is an accusation against us. We are all indicted and summoned for trial. We are held as sinners, and must appear to answer for this high offense. There is a question pending which implicates us all, and the influence of this advocate is needed in the case.
 
2. The existence of the office shows that the case as between sinners and their God is not altogether hopeless. It is not like that of the fallen angels. If it were, there could be no place for an advocate. It is the case of sinners, yet not of hopeless sinners. If the question of relief were entirely foreclosed, there would be no propriety in having any advocate at all.
 
3. The existence of such an office evinces a compassionate disposition on God's part towards us. It should be considered that this Advocate is provided by God, not by the sinner. Why then should He furnish us an advocate at all if He were really implacable?

Some persons seem to think that the compassion displayed in the gospel plan belongs wholly and alone to Jesus Christ--that the Father had no other than an implacable spirit. But it should be considered that Christ was appointed to this office by the Father--a fact which shows that the difficulty in the way of any sinner's being forgiven lies not in the Father's heart, but in the exigencies of His government.


4. Sinners are in such a condition that they cannot help themselves. If they could, there would be no demand for an advocate. If they could be saved upon the bare mercy of God, as some have supposed, there would be no need of an advocate.

III. The essential qualifications of an advocate for sinners.


1. He must not be so implicated with the transgressors that he is a transgressor himself. He must be righteous before God; else he will himself need an advocate. Consequently we read of our Advocate--"Jesus Christ, the righteous." It is altogether essential that he should come with clean hands before the great tribunal.
 
2. He must be willing to undertake the advocacy, to whatever amount of self-denial, pain, or expense it may subject him. He must be willing to assume all the responsibility, or of course he will not succeed. For what can the sinner do for himself before the court of the Holy and pure One?
 
3. He must take an interest in the race or people for whom he pleads. If he lacks this, he will not succeed, especially if there are great obstacles to be overcome, and such as demand great labor, suffering and trial. Such is the case of sinners that whoever undertakes to be their advocate must encounter great obstacles--as everyone who had ever been convicted of sin must know.

IV. As to the conditions of his success, it may be said:


1. He must be willing to undertake. We are assured that such is the fact.
 
2. He must be "retained" by each sinner for himself. This is a legal term and implies that the party needing the services of an advocate, engages him to undertake it, and agrees for himself to commit his case into the advocate's hands. It is indispensable that the advocate should have the entire consent of those for whom he undertakes. They must commit their whole case to him. If he sees there are certain things they must do, or certain confessions they must make in order to success, as he supposes, they must promptly do those things and make those confessions. They must put themselves entirely in his hands. For example, if He insists that they must give up all sin, they must do it; or if He insists they must repent, they must do it without hypocrisy and without delay. If he insists they deny themselves, they must cheerfully meet the demand.
 
3. He must have some prevailing plea. He must have something to produce before the court that will come with power and influence.

Now what plea can Christ make for the sinner? Can He say, "This is a righteous man, and not an offender against God's law or against His gospel"? No. Can he plead any justification or apology? Ah, He can neither deny nor excuse the fact of sin. Sometimes a criminal denies the fact, and sometimes he pleads some apology, or that he had a right to do the deed. But in the sinner's case, Christ can plead nothing of this sort at all.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1854 paragraph 250 232 Lecture VI. Variety in the Service Offered to God ...

Again, all their religious works are performed with a sense of drudgery and pain. If they were to speak right out what they think, they would say, religion is a very expensive thing to us. It costs us a great deal of painful self-denial. They would say as a young girl said to me once about her religion. Not long since three young girls came together to see me at my room. The first told me she had got religion. I saw she was gay and dressy, and therefore said to her; "is it not a pity that at your age you should be obliged to become religious and lose all the pleasures this world can give? If you only knew you should not die too soon, would not you enjoy it much better to live as you please, unrestrained by religious obligations?" Yes, said she, if I had only known I should not die, it would no doubt have been pleasant for me to enjoy the world. The second of the three sympathized with her, saying, if she could only have been sure of not dying before she was ready it would have been pleasant to enjoy more of the world. But the third looked greatly surprised, and then grieved and began to weep. It would be no pleasure, she said, to her to have all this world could give, she could not enjoy it, because it would grieve the Savior. What! said I, would you not like to have the world if you could? No; no: all I want is to please my Savior. I could enjoy nothing unless it should be pleasing to Him. Then I had no occasion to tell the first two they had no religion. The third had answered every question so warmly from her heart and so impressively through her tears, that they needed no other testimony to show them that they had not begun to serve God at all yet.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1854 paragraph 337 323 Lecture IX. God's Commandments Not Grievous ...

Again, if we were required to secure any given end and the requisite means were not within our reach, and are not furnished us by the Power that makes the requisition; if we were required to make brick without straw, or to convert the world without the requisite agencies and powers, and the commands were enforced by heavy penalties, this must be regarded as greatly grievous.


4. Or, if the command were unadapted to our nature or opposed to our highest and best interests; or if the possibility of obeying it were precluded by our circumstances, or by our relations, and we are laid under the burden of heavy penalties to do these things, this would be truly grievous. We could not possibly regard it otherwise.
 
5. We should regard a commandment grievous if it required anything more than honest intention and best endeavor, inasmuch as whatever lies outside of and beyond this must be impossible to us. What we cannot do with the best intention and the utmost endeavor, we cannot do at all. This, therefore, would be grievous.
 
6. Or yet again, if the interests to be protected by law were of vast importance, and yet were protected by only a slight penalty, such a law might well be deemed grievous by those who had interests demanding protection. You would regard it as a most grievous law which should propose to protect your life by a penalty of only 37 1/2 cents.
 
7. Or if a trifling end were set up, but a fearful penalty were attached, this also would be grievous.

II. When a commandment is not grievous.


1. It is not grievous merely because it conflicts with our unreasonable desires. If the desires are contrary to reason, it is not unreasonable that laws should cross them.
 
2. Law is not grievous because opposed to the selfishness of men. A precept may be perfectly, infinitely opposed to selfishness, and yet be far from being grievous.
 
3. It is not grievous because of its being opposed to our self-will. A self-will that is arbitrary and capricious is no standard by which to judge of law.
 
4. Law is not grievous when it merely opposes what conscience also opposes. If law does not conflict with a good and sound conscience, all is right, for conscience is the reason judging on moral subjects--the faculty constituted of God for this end. If conscience be for it, therefore, it cannot be grievous.
 
5. No law is grievous which requires only that which is for our highest good. This, our reason necessarily affirms.
 
6. If the object of the precept is to secure our own highest good, it cannot be regarded by us as grievous, for its spirit is altogether good.

Now do not say that in these statements I am dogmatizing. I am only affirming self-evident propositions. They need only a clear statement to appear to every mind self-evident.


7. If the law forbids nothing except what would be injurious to us, it is all right.
 
8. If it requires us to deny ourselves for the good of others, all is right, provided this self-denial will be for our own highest good. If it will be greater good to us than the sacrifice is an evil; if the self-denial, though real and great, gives us back more than an equivalent, the law which requires it is by no means grievous. Especially is this true if the self-denial not only gives us a greater good, but is an essential and only means of securing our highest good. By no means can this be deemed grievous, requiring of us a self-denial, of which the more we exercise, the greater good we secure.
 
9. A law is not grievous where it requires of us simple honesty--a regard to the rights of others, equal to our regard for our own. This cannot be grievous. This may be honest and right if it requires no more of us than we require of others conscientiously. Who can pronounce such a commandment to be grievous?

I shall proceed by and by to enquire whether God's commandments have these qualities and this character; but at present, I am discussing the subject only in its general and abstract form. So doing, we may perhaps better establish the principles that underlie the subject.


10. A command cannot be said to be grievous when it requires of us only the reasonable employment of all we have and are. For so much is reasonable, no matter what the particular service may be under the circumstances. It were a contradiction to say it is unreasonable to require a reasonable service of active powers, made for useful action, or of means of usefulness, put in our hands by our Creator.
 
11. That cannot be unreasonable or grievous which simply requires of us a right voluntary state. We know ourselves to have a free will, the power to originate our own volitions. This is a thing of which we are absolutely certain from our consciousness. We do not certainly know that we can move our own muscles. The law of connection between the will and the muscles is sometimes suspended. You might find it to be so in any effort you might make. But you know you can control your own will. You may try this at any time; and you will find it so. You also believe and assume it to be so, of everybody else, of sane and sound mind.
 
12. Now, therefore, if God's love requires of you only a right state of your will, and those acts and states which follow naturally from a right state of the will, no man can reasonably feel that this is grievous, or can honestly pronounce it to be so.
 
13. A commandment is not grievous when it requires nothing capricious, nothing unnecessary, nothing hard to the well-disposed; and threatens disobedience with only the proper penalties.

Again, it cannot be deemed grievous when we could not be satisfied if it required nothing less than it does; when we ourselves, in all honesty, are constrained to say, it is all right; but if anything less were required, or if its requisitions were enforced by a less penalty, we should say--it is wrong. Especially if we are aware that any other course than that indicated in the precept would be hard or even ruinous--hard in the sense in which sin is hard, and ruinous in the sense in which sin is ruinous.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1854 paragraph 535 518 Lecture XIV. The Indications and The Guilt of Backsliding ...

Now in view of all these indications, will you be so kind to yourself, each of you, as to ask--Is this my state? Can you go on your knees before God and say--O, my God, thou knowest I am not lukewarm. How is this?


16. I have still to name one more indication--a life which fails to make the impression on all who see it that religion is your chief business--the one thing needful. For if religion is your chief concern and the thing of deepest interest with you, it is most certain and inevitable that your life will show it. Your life will make the impression on all who know you, that your heart is full of God and of love. The true Christian is a light which cannot be hid. His life will make its impression. He will be known as a zealous man, a self-denying man, as a charitable man, as a holy man--as one who lives in God and God in him.

But I must pass now to say,

III. That a lukewarm state is a most guilty one.


1. As a general thing, these professors of religion are enlightened. The fact that they have publicly professed religion evinces this. By how much the greater their light, by how much the greater their guilt.
 
2. It is also a most hypocritical state. Backsliders are hypocrites I do not mean that they have never been converted, but I do mean that they profess towards God what is not true. Their heart and their life believe their profession. They are living, walking hypocrites!
 
3. It is, moreover, a perjured state. That Christian has taken his oath to love and serve God, and has done it under most solemn circumstances--even at the communion table with the symbols of Christ's body and blood in his very hands! What has he sworn? to live for God; to observe all His statutes and all ordinances; often the very terms of his covenant specify attending to all the general meetings of the church, and performing each and all of his duties as a member of the body. Thus he solemnly swears--but thus he never does. At each successive communion season he renews his oath, only to break it again during all the next succeeding interval. He solemnly swore that he would renounce all ungodliness and every worldly lust--that he would walk soberly, righteously and godly in this evil world;--yet how constantly and universally does he violate each point in the solemn affirmation! Do I speak too strongly when I say that this man perjures himself? I am well aware of the technical distinction made in courts of law whereby it is held that there may be much falsehood without perjury--it being essential to perjury that the accused should deliberately swear falsely on a point material to the issue. But let me ask you if the oath of the backslider is not taken deliberately? What could be more so? Let me also ask if it is not to a point most material to the main issue? Surely it is. The very thing he swore he would do is the very thing he does not do. How horrible must such perjury be! Suppose you go into court and you see there a witness taking the stand and swearing to a lie--to what you know is a lie--and to what you know he knows is a lie! Would you not cry out, How awful!--What have we come to! But what is this compared with that we see at the communion table? See there;--the table is spread, God's holy presence is solemnly invoked--the minister takes the holy Bible, and expounds the nature of the oath to be taken;--then backsliders come forward and solemnly swear to perform all their Christian duties;--solemnly avow their allegiance to Jesus, the crucified--profess supreme love to him, solemnly testify that they believe in his blood as the ground of their forgiveness and that they owe him the devotion a thousand hearts and lives;--they solemnly covenant to walk with their brethren in labor and prayer--to attend the prayer-meetings;--but when the hour comes, he is not there! Another season comes round; he is not there! He almost never comes. It is a very rare thing that he even pretends to do any one of the many overt tangible things embraced in his vow. He does indeed come to meeting occasionally on the Sabbath. But this costs him no particular self-denial. On the Sabbath there is nothing else he can do. He may not work his farm, or drive his trade, or open his store. So on the Sabbath he will come to the house of God. But really, and in the spirit of it, he breaks every material point of his solemn covenant. At the next communion he is ready as ever to renew it; the communion season once past, he is ready to trample it under his heedless foot again! Is not this a most guilty state?
 
4. Still further, it is guilty because it is a most injurious state. It does infinite mischief. Nothing so discourages a minister as to be shut up to the necessity of reaching the impenitent over the heads of backsliders. He preaches that religion is the chief concern; they deny it. He says, it is and should be the principal business; they give him the lie. He says, religion gives its possessor peace; they reply--that is all a lie. He holds forth that Jesus has died for sinners, and those who are bought with his blood must devote their whole life and heart to his service; they reply--we don't hold, in practice, to any such things. He preaches to sinners that the hearts of Christians are bleeding with sympathy for them; they can very promptly say--that is utterly false, for we know better. Let the minister say what he will to paint the glories of heaven, or portray the woes of hell; to urge the need and the value of gospel salvation, or to exhibit the power and the reality of religion;--the backslider rises before him and gives the lie to all he can say. Alas, it is almost a hopeless task to preach so! For to make the matter still worse--these professed Christians are supposed to know from experience. They have tried it and have gone back to the world again. The minister may have a good theory, but it don't work in practice, and there is the proof. Or he may have some professional motive for such preaching; but, say they, do we not know that the proof of these things must lie in experience!

Hence, when backsliders come upon the stand and swear that not one word of God's can be believed--that all His promises are a humbug--that all the time prospects and hopes of the young convert are blasted, and he must needs return to the world again for life and joy; how fearfully injurious must this be!


5. It must be most injurious, because it hardens sinners in the worst way, and begets in them a contempt for religion. They see those who profess it go to the communion table and carefully maintain the forms of religion; but then they also see these same persons perjure themselves on all these vital points of their profession. They know that these professors have no deep interest in religion--no feeling about it; they see enough to convince them that their profession is nothing better than a blasphemous humbug. When they see masses of those who have made the solemn professions, absenting themselves from prayer-meetings, and really doing nothing to promote the objects they profess to love so deeply, is it any wonder that they are hardened? Is it strange that they are made skeptics? I know, and everybody who examines the subject must know, that the backsliding of professed Christians does more to beget skepticism than all the writings of infidels. I have seen places--I have been called to preach in places, where the conduct of professors has begotten an almost universal skepticism, so that the very foundations of Bible truth had to be laid over again. Nothing could be done in preaching the gospel till you had gone back to first principles; till you had rolled baleful influence of so much backsliding and apostasy, and shown people that they must examine the Bible for themselves and on their own responsibility--let apostates believe it as they might.
 
6. Backsliding does more injury to souls than any thing else, because it leads to false hopes. Men will form their notions on what religion is from the life of his professors. If this life believes religion, giving a false view of it, multitudes are deluded. Thus the backslider does much to confirm both himself and others in a false hope. Suppose a pastor becomes lukewarm, and that then his deacons also become lukewarm, their life and spirit still remain the general standard of piety. The masses, thinking themselves as good as the deacons and the minister, feel very much at ease in their state, and so go down in vast numbers to the depths of hell.

It is expected that young converts will be led by older and leading minds. The latter virtually say--We are older and have more experience than you; it befits you to follow rather than to lead us; modesty and humility are altogether becoming in the young. Thus backsliders throw themselves directly in the way of young converts. Twice within a few years have I heard ministers say--"O, if I could only take these young converts away by themselves, how easily could I train them up for God and form in them habits of earnest Christian activity. But now, what can I do? If the older, backslidden members are not kept foremost, they will become chafed, restive, and perhaps will wound the feelings of the young converts; while if the converts are kept back and under their influence, they will be frozen to death. If we could only take these young converts along as they now wish to go, what a noble church they would make, and what living, working Christians?"

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1856 paragraph 213 162 Lecture V. On The Atonement ...

Some of you may think it a great thing to go on a foreign mission. But Jesus has led the way. He left Heaven on a foreign mission; came down to this more than heathen world, and no one ever faced such self-denial. Yet He fearlessly marched up without the least hesitation, to meet the consequences. Never did He shrink from disgrace, from humiliation, or torture. And can you shrink from following the footsteps of such a leader? Is anything too much for you to suffer, while you follow in the lead of such a Captain of your salvation?

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1858 paragraph 180 148 Lecture V. On Following Christ ...

What is such a belief good for? Often has this question been forced on my mind in Boston -- what is this belief that all men will be saved, good for? People plead this belief as their excuse for not following Christ, "since we shall all come right at last any how." Can this belief make men holy and happy? Some of you will answer -- "It makes me happy for the present, and that is the most I care for." But does it make you holy? Does it beget true Christian self-denial and real benevolence? A faith and a practice which make you happy without being holy are but a poor thing. Indeed, it cannot fail of being utterly mischievous, because it lures and pleases without the least advance towards saving your soul. It only leaves you the more a slave of sin and Satan.

3. But you say -- "It makes me so miserable to believe that any will be forever lost!"

What then? What if it does make you feel unhappy? It may make you unhappy to see your guilty friend sent to the penitentiary or the gallows now; but such a doom may be none the less deserved -- none the less certain, because it hurts your feelings.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1859 paragraph 8 TABLE OF CONTENTS ...

Lecture III. On Self-Denial

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1859 paragraph 91 90 Lecture III. On Self-Denial ...

On Self-Denial
Lecture III
April 27, 1859

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1859 paragraph 95 90 Lecture III. On Self-Denial ...

II. Why does Christ demand of us self-denial?

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1859 paragraph 99 90 Lecture III. On Self-Denial ...

3. Under this principle you must do all your duty to your fellow men -- whether to their bodies or to their souls, denying all those worldly desires and propensities which would conflict with this duty, making Jesus Christ Himself your model and His expressed will your perpetual rule.

II. The question will arise in many minds -- Why does Christ demand of us self-denial?

1. Is it because God loves to see us self-mortified -- because He takes pleasure in crucifying the sensibilities to enjoyment which He has given us? By no means. But the true answer is to be found in the fact that He has made us rational and moral beings -- our rational faculties being intended for the control of our entire voluntary activities, and our moral nature rendering us properly responsible for the self-control which God requires. In the lower orders of creation around us, we see animals void of moral responsibility because they are constituted irrational and incapable of responsible moral action. To them, propensity must be law, because they can know no other. But we have a higher law to obey than they. Their highest good is promoted by their obedience to mere physical law; but not so with us. Our sensibilities are blind, and therefore were never intended to be our rule of life. To supply such a rule, God has given us intelligence and conscience. Appetite therefore cannot be our rule, while it can and must be the rule of all the lower, irrational animals.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1859 paragraph 104 90 Lecture III. On Self-Denial ...

6. Now let it be well considered that the spiritual side of our nature can be developed and gratified only by a benevolent crossing of our appetites -- a crossing of them, I mean, under the demands of real benevolence towards our fellow men and towards God. This must be our aim, for if we make our personal happiness the end, we can never attain to the exalted joy of true fellowship with God.

It is curious to see how the sensibility is related to self-denial, so that denying ourselves from right motives becomes the natural and necessary means of developing our spiritual affections. Beginning with taking up the cross, one goes on from step to step, ruling down self-indulgences and self-gratification, and opening his heart more and more to fellowship with God and to the riper experience of His love.

7. A further reason why men should deny themselves, is that it is intrinsically right. The lower appetites ought not to govern us; the higher laws of our nature ought to. The evidence of this is simply the evidence which proves it to be the duty of beings created rational to use their reason and not degrade themselves down to the level of beasts.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1859 paragraph 105 90 Lecture III. On Self-Denial ...

8. Another reason is that we can well afford it, for we are surely the gainers by it. I admit that when we resist and deny the demands of self-indulgence, it goes a short way and on a small scale, against happiness; but on the spiritual side we gain immensely, and immensely more than we lose. The satisfaction which arises from real self-denial is precious. It is rich in quality and deep and broad as the ocean in amount.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1859 paragraph 106 90 Lecture III. On Self-Denial ...

9. Many think that if they would find pleasure they must seek it directly and make it their direct object, seeking it moreover in the gratification of their appetites. They seem to know no other form of happiness but this. It would seem that they never have conceived the idea that the only way to enjoy themselves really is to deny self, fully up to the demands of right, reason, and of God's revealed will. Yet this is the most essential law of real happiness. Where shunning the cross begins, true religion ends. You may pray in your family; you may sternly rebuke sin wherever it is disagreeable to yourself, and do all this without Christian self-denial; but while living in habits of self-indulgence, you cannot stand up for Christ and do your duty everywhere manfully, and especially you will be all weakness when the path of duty leads you where your feelings will be wounded. And no man can expect to escape such emergencies always. If then you would maintain the path of duty without swerving, and enjoy real life and blessedness, you must determine to deny yourself wherever God and reason demand it, and fully up to the extent of those demands. So will you gain more than you can lose. If you are firm and determined, your path will be easy and joyous.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1859 paragraph 118 90 Lecture III. On Self-Denial ...

8. To those of you who being yet in your sins, cannot conceive how you can ever enjoy God, and cannot even imagine how your heart can cleave to God, and call Him a thousand endearing names, and pour out your heart in love to Jesus, let me beg of you to consider that there is such communion with God -- there is such joy of His presence, and you may have it at the price of self-denial and whole-hearted devotion to Jesus; not otherwise. And why should you not make this choice? Already you are saying -- every cup of worldly pleasure is blasted -- dried up and worthless. Then let them go. Bid them away, and make the better choice of pleasures that are purer far and better and which endure forever.
 
 


 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1860 paragraph 30 9 Lectures I. & II.On Loving God- No. 1 -- On Love To Our Neighbor- No. 2 ...

5. Of course it also implies that we are joyful in the exercise of self-denial for Christ's sake.

It sometimes happens that persons receiving favors from us, express so much gratitude that we are ready to thank them for the privilege of doing anything for them. See that little child sick and faint; she motions for a drink of water. Poor child; she can only lisp out, "Thank you, Ma!" Her mother did not need those uttered thanks. The grateful look sufficed. Nay, she so loved that dear sick one that it was joy enough for her to do anything for her welfare, because of the love she bore. You have felt this. You have felt such love, and such joy in doing any kindness to one you love that you were ready to thank that dear one for the privilege of doing him any good. Your heart has been so set on doing good that you have felt it more blessed to give than to receive.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1861 paragraph 225 208 Lecture IV. Wherefore Do The Wicked Live ...

(10.) He spares the wicked to glorify Himself in their destruction, if it comes to that, that He must destroy them.

To execute wholesome law is always just, of course; but justice is all the more honored and glorified when the subject punished has not only violated law but has contemned the law giver, and contemned the offer of mercy. If the rebellious subject has been treated with the greatest kindness and forbearance; if much pains has been taken with him to reclaim and save him; if the government has exhausted all its available resources to do him good, to conciliate him, to humble and reclaim him, and has failed to do so, then justice is rendered all the more sacred in its execution. When the penalty of the law falls upon such a subject it makes a deep impression; the subjects of the government feel that that is done which was demanded. Justice is glorified, law is honored, authority established, iniquity rebuked, order preserved.

2. I must notice some reasons that respect His people.
 

(1.) He spares the wicked to provide benevolent employment for His people.

He has stationed the wicked providentially throughout the whole regions and domains of the church. They have in their midst persons unsaved, persons who will not obey God, who are in the way to hell. Now to save these is the very work which the church needs. To sympathize with Christ in taking hold of this work, is one of the ways in which God sanctifies His people, and fits them for heaven.

(2.) He spares the wicked to exercise and develop the graces of His people, to promote their self-denial to try and develop their patience, to lead them in all things to be like the Savior.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1861 paragraph 497 436 Lecture VIII. The Kingdom of God In Consciousness ...

15. Labor, pains-taking, and even self-denial, for the salvation of souls and the glory of God, is spontaneous; is the natural outburst of an inward flame of love, an inward spring of joy and peace where the kingdom of God is set up.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1861 paragraph 965 908 Lecture XVI. Any One Form of Sin Persisted In Is Fatal To The Soul ...

He cannot serve God and mammon. Many are trying to do so, but it is impossible. They cannot love both God and the world; they cannot serve two masters; they cannot please God and the world. It is the greatest, and yet the most common, I fear, of all mistakes, that men can be truly, but knowingly, only partially religious; that in some things they can truly yield to God, while in other things they refuse to obey Him. How common is this mistake! If it is not, what shall we make of the state of the churches? How are we to understand the great mass of professors? How are we to understand the great body of religious teachers, if they do not leave the impression, after all, on the churches, that they can be accepted of God while their habitual obedience is only very partial; while, in fact, they pick and choose among the commandments of God, professing to obey some, while they allow themselves in known disobedience of others. Now, if in this respect the church has not a false standard; if the mass of religious instruction is not making a false impression on the churches and on the world in this respect, I am mistaken. I am sorry to be obliged to entertain this opinion, and to express it; but what else can I think? How else can the state of the churches be accounted for? How else is it that ministers have no hope that the great mass of their churches are in a safe state? How else is it that the great mass of professors of religion can have any hope of eternal life in them, if this is not the principle practically adopted by them, that they are justified while only rendering habitually but a very partial obedience to God; that they are really forgiven and justified while they only pick and choose among the commandments, obeying those, as they think, obedience to which costs them little, and is not disagreeable, and is not unpopular; while they do not hesitate habitually to disobey where obedience would subject them to any inconvenience, require any self-denial, or expose them to any persecution. Again,

 

 


HEART OF THE TRUTH - ON THEOLOGY, LECTURE 35 - THE ATONEMENT paragraph 20 Its Intention; The Atonement necessary.

12. An Atonement was needed, to contradict the slander of Satan. He had seduced our first parents, by the insinuation that God was selfish, in prohibiting their eating the fruit of a certain tree. Now the execution of the penalty of his law would not so thoroughly refute this abominable slander as would the great self-denial of God exhibited in the Atonement.

 

 


HEART OF THE TRUTH - ON THEOLOGY, LECTURE 36 - REASONS WHY AN ATONEMENT WAS PREFERABLE TO PUNISHMENT paragraph 10 REASONS WHY AN ATONEMENT WAS PREFERABLE TO PUNISHMENT, or to the execution of the Divine Law.

5. Another reason for preferring the Atonement to the punishment of sinners, must have been, that sin had afforded an opportunity for the highest exercise of virtue in God: the exercise of forbearance, mercy, self-denial, for enemies, and suffering for enemies that were within his own power, and for those from whom he could expect no equivalent in return.

 

 


HEART OF THE TRUTH - ON THEOLOGY, LECTURE 36 - REASONS WHY AN ATONEMENT WAS PREFERABLE TO PUNISHMENT paragraph 18 REASONS WHY AN ATONEMENT WAS PREFERABLE TO PUNISHMENT, or to the execution of the Divine Law.

13. The self-denial exercised in the Atonement would secure to him the highest kind and degree of happiness.

 

 


HEART OF THE TRUTH - ON THEOLOGY, LECTURE 38 - VALUE OF THE ATONEMENT paragraph 30 VALUE OF THE ATONEMENT. In what its value consists; How great its value is; For whose benefit it was intended.

7. Christ is God. In the Atonement God has given us the influence of his own example, has exhibited his own love, his own compassion, his own self-denial, his own patience, his own long-suffering, under abuse from enemies. In the Atonement he has exhibited all the highest and most perfect virtues, has united himself with human nature, has exhibited these virtues to the inspection of our senses, and labored, wept, suffered, bled, and died for man. 'This is not only the highest revelation of God, that could be given to man; but is giving the whole weight of his own example in favor of all the virtues which he requires of man.

 

 


HEART OF THE TRUTH - ON THEOLOGY, LECTURE 40 - OBJECTIONS TO THE ATONEMENT ANSWERED paragraph 19

Ans. 1. Yes, it would not only be unjust, but it is impossible to punish an innocent individual at all. Punishment implies guilt. An innocent being may suffer, but he cannot be punished. Christ voluntarily "suffered, the just for the unjust." He had a right to exercise this self-denial; and as it was by his own voluntary consent, no injustice was done to anyone.

 

 


FROM THE PENNY PULPIT, SERMON 1 - REGENERATION. paragraph 34

(7.) Again, let me say, that regeneration implies a state of self-denial. Now I do not mean by self-denial, the breaking off from some outward customs and habits in which you have been accustomed to indulge--that you leave off some showy articles of dress and wear plainer attire; or that you be a little more temperate, or a good deal more temperate; for self-denial does not belong to the outward life, but to the mind. Self-denial is the renunciation of selfishness, and all selfish appetites. Self-denial is not a total denial of our appetites and passions, but our appetites and passions are not to be our law. It is right to eat and drink, but we are to do both to the glory of God, that we may have strength to serve him. So with respect to all our appetites and propensities, they are to be properly employed and made to serve the purposes for which they were bestowed, but we are not to make their gratification the business and end of life.

 

 


FROM THE PENNY PULPIT, SERMON 4 - THE KINGDOM OF GOD UPON EARTH. paragraph 21

     And here let me say that it was not part of the design of our Lord Jesus to give his disciples merely a form of prayer, the words of which they might repeat without knowing or caring what they meant or said; he did not give this prayer to be repeated over as a ceremony merely, without significance or interest. There is no greater profanity in the universe than to gabber it over in such a manner as it is frequently used. The Lord Jesus gave this prayer to be understood, and that the petition should be offered with sincerity and with faith, and in a certain state of mind. Who can doubt this? Did he intend to teach his disciples and his people in after-ages to be hypocrites? No, indeed! Did he intend them to offer insincere worship? No, indeed! Then he must have designed that they should offer these petitions with sincerity. Now, the question is, what is implied in sincerity? When is a man sincere in offering this petition to God? What are the characteristics and elements of sincerity? What is implied in being sincere? 1. I observe, first, that a sincere and acceptable offering of this petition implies repentance of past sins,--for sin rejects God, and tramples down his laws. No man who lives in sin can offer this prayer without gross hypocrisy--that's very clear; the man who rejects Christ and tramples on his laws, lives in sin, and cannot offer such a prayer as this acceptably. It implies, then, repentance and renunciation of all sin. 2. It implies confidence in God: observe, it is a petition to God, that his kingdom may come. Now, if an individual have not implicit confidence in the character and wisdom of God, in the perfection of his government, and in all the provisions of his kingdom, why should he pray it may come? Now, it is not enough that a man believes as a mere speculation that God is good, that his law is good, that his kingdom is what it should be; the devil knows this as well as anybody else. It is not enough that a man should admit intellectually that these things are so, but he must confide in God with his whole heart: to offer this petition acceptably he must really have heart-confidence in God's existence, in his wisdom, in his universal right to legislate for the world, in the perfection and wisdom of his government; he must have full confidence in God, I say, ere he can offer this petition acceptably--this is very certain. 3. Another thing implied in the acceptable offering of this petition is, that the heart obeys the law of God. An individual, for example, who does not in his heart submit to God's law, cannot pray that his kingdom may come, for what would he mean by that? That others may obey it, that others may submit to Christ's authority, that God's law may be set up in others' hearts, but not in his own. He cannot pray acceptably thus. The petitioner must have the law of God set up in his own heart, and his own life must be governed by it. But this leads me to say, 4. That, inasmuch as man's outward life is always of necessity, by a law of his nature, as his heart is, it implies an obedient life as well as an obedient heart. The term "heart" is used in various senses in the Scriptures--but whenever it is used in the sense that implies virtue, it means the Will. We say of those whose will is devoted to God, that their hearts are right--they are devoted to God, consecrated to him. Now, if we consider the heart as the will--and that is the sense in which I now use the term--the will governs the outward life; and if this will, or heart, devotes itself to the will of God, and yields itself up to obedience to the law of God, the outward life must be in conformity with the law of God, so far as it is understood. Let no man say, then, that his heart is better than his life. Let no man say that his heart has received the kingdom of God, while his outward life disobeys it. 5. Sincerity in offering this petition implies universal sympathy with God. By this I mean, first, that the petitioner really does sympathise with the great end which God is endeavouring to secure through the instrumentality of his law, and by the government of his kingdom. Now, government, remember, is not an end, but a means; neither is God's government an end, but a means. He proposes to ensure certain great ends by means of his government and his kingdom. Now, when a man prays that God's kingdom may come, to be sincere in his petition, he must fully sympathise with the end which is sought to be accomplished, and on which God has set his heart, which is his own glory, and the interests of his kingdom. A man, to offer this petition acceptably--"thy kingdom come," must understand this to be the great end, and set his heart upon it; to this he must consecrate his being, as the end on which God has set his heart. But it also implies, secondly, sympathy with God in reference to the means by which he is endeavouring to secure this great and glorious end. Again, sympathy with God implies a real and hearty aversion to all that stands in the way of the progress of his kingdom--all sin, in every form and in every shape. The individual that is not deeply and thoroughly opposed to sin, does not want God's kingdom to come; for God's kingdom would destroy all the works of the devil, would destroy sin in every form and degree. Those who offer this petition in sincerity, virtually pray that all sin may cease. Now, how can a man who does not cease from sin himself present such a petition as this? How can he pray for God's kingdom to come, while he is violating the known laws of that kingdom? If a man be not opposed to all sin, he cannot offer this petition acceptably. 6. It is plain that sincerity in offering this petition must imply supreme attachment to the King, his law and government. Observe, the petition does not express a partial attachment to the kingdom of God, but is an expression of entire agreement with God in reference to his kingdom--a universal submission, a universal attachment to the King and his entire administration. Every one, I think, will say that no man is or can be sincere in offering this petition, if he is not heartily and devotedly attached to the King and his government--to every principle and precept of his holy law and Gospel, and to his entire administration. 7. A sincere offering of this petition implies a sympathy with all the means that are used to establish this kingdom in the earth--to establish it in the hearts and souls of men. Now, if an individual prays that this kingdom may come, he prays that men may be made holy, as the condition of their being made happy, and of their being saved. Now, the man who does not truly love the souls of men, and desire their salvation, never offers this petition in sincerity; in order to do this, he must care for the souls of men. 8. It implies a supreme desire that God's kingdom may come. It is one thing for an individual to say "thy kingdom come," and another thing for him supremely to desire that it may come. It is common for a man to ask in words for what he does not deeply and sincerely desire; but I said that a man, to offer this prayer acceptably, must deeply, and sincerely, and supremely desire that God's kingdom may come. But, if a man is in bondage to his own lusts, and desires their gratification supremely, no one in this house, I presume, would affirm that such a man could offer this petition acceptably. Now, I suppose that, to offer this petition acceptably, there must be a supreme desire for the object prayed for; that no desire shall be allowed to prevail over this; that no merely selfish enjoyment or selfish indulgence shall have a chief place in the heart. Let me ask any one of you this question,--Suppose you should see a man on his knees offering this petition, and if you knew, at the same time, that he was a self-indulgent man, not willing to make any sacrifices, or hardly any, to promote the interests of this kingdom, spending ten times more on his own lusts than he gave to the cause of Christ, how could any of you believe that such a man was sincere in offering such a prayer? Such a man, if he uses this petition, virtually says,--"Lord, let thy kingdom come without my exercising any self-denial; let Providence enrich me, but let me keep all I get: let thy kingdom come, but let me seek my own gratifications." Now, if a man should pray in words in this way, you would say it is little less than blasphemy! But he might not say this in words for very shame; yet, suppose he said, "let thy kingdom come," and acted quite the opposite to any such desire, would his prayer be any the better? 9. But not only does an acceptable offering of this petition imply supreme desire--that is, without more influence than other desires--but it implies also, that the mind is supremely devoted to the end for which it prays; the voluntary power of the will devotes itself, and devotes the whole being, to the promotion of this end. Now, suppose we should hear a man pray in this way--"Lord, let thy kingdom come, if it can come without my being devoted to its interests; let thy kingdom come, if it can come without my ever giving my heart, time, energies, property, possessions, sympathies, and prayers, to promote it; I will say let thy kingdom come, but I will go on in my own way, and do nothing to promote it or hasten its approach:" you would say that this is not an acceptable offering of this petition. I suppose that none of you are disposed to deny that an acceptable offering of this petition does really imply that the heart is truly and sincerely devoted to the kingdom of God. 10. An acceptable offering of this petition must imply self-denial. Now, please to understand what I mean by self-denial; remember, it is not the forsaking of one gratification for another: it sometimes happens that men forsake the gratification of one appetite in order that they may gratify another. Persons may deny themselves in a great many respects, and yet be guilty of much selfishness. Suppose a man be avaricious, and love money, his heart is supremely set upon acquiring it, and hoarding it up. That man may be very frugal in his expenditure--he may be very much disgusted with many who spend money for their own gratification; this avaricious man may deny himself many things; he may go so far as to deny himself the comforts of life, as misers do, and berate everybody who do otherwise; but the man is selfish nevertheless: the love of money prevails over the love of everything else--his heart is set upon that. What people call self-denial, is often no self-denial at all; self-love is very frequently at the bottom, after all. But real self-denial consists in this--an individual's refusing to live to please himself; to promote his own profit and interests, as distinguished from God's kingdom; who refuses to do anything simply and entirely for self. It implies that an individual ceases from self and consecrates himself to God; lives to please God and not himself, and sympathises with nothing whose ultimate end is not to serve and glorify God. Now, when a man who does not deny himself offers this petition to God, what does he mean? He is a rebel against God, opposed to his law. Why does he want God's kingdom to come? Let no selfish man, then--no man who lives in any form of self-pleasing, suppose that he can offer this prayer acceptably. 11. It implies, on the part of those who offer this prayer, a real and whole-hearted embarking of their all with God in this great enterprise. If we offer it sincerely, it implies that we have come into such sympathy with him as to embark ourselves, body and soul, for time and eternity, our characters and affections, our all, in making common cause with God in the advancement of the interests of his kingdom. Now, I think it cannot be doubted that all this is included in a sincere offering of the prayer, "thy kingdom come." Take the case of an earthly prince desiring to establish a kingdom--true patriotism consists in sincerely seeking the promotion of the aim of the prince. The fact is plain, that the acceptable offering of this petition must imply that those who offer it have given themselves up to the promotion of this object; that they have embarked their all in this great enterprise; that for this end thy live, move, and have their being. 12. Let me say again, that it implies a fear towards whatever would be calculated to retard the progress of this kingdom. Persons in a right state of mind hate everything that would hinder the advancement of this kingdom, because they have set their hearts on its establishment. Sin and every form of evil is loathsome to them, because it retards the establishment of the kingdom of God on the earth. It is a law of man's being which makes him quiveringly, tremblingly alive to any interests on which he has set his heart, and causes him to be keen-sighted, and ever on the watch to remove anything that stands in the way of the progress of that upon which his hopes are so deeply set. Now, be it remembered this law of mind invariably shows itself in religious, as well as in worldly matters; it does do so, and must. 13. I observe, in the next place, that those who offer this petition sincerely, manifest grief and indignation at whatever is contrary to God's will. If they see an error, but which does not involve sin, they are grieved; but if it involves sin, they feel indignation. I do not mean malicious indignation, but a benevolent, a holy, a compassionate indignation. 14. Lastly, under this head, I observe that a right offering of this petition implies the joyful exercise of an economy in our lives, whether of time, talents, influence, or whatever else we possess; there is a joyful economising of everything for the promotion of this end. Now, who does not know that when men set their hearts upon any great object, that just in proportion to their attachment to that object will be their devotedness to it--just in that proportion are they cheerful, eager, and ready in using every economy for the promotion of this object--they husband everything for the promotion of that end. As an illustration of this, let me notice an affecting circumstance that occurred within my own knowledge. A woman, who was a slave in one of the southern states of America, had escaped from her bondage, but she had left her husband and children in slavery: the master of these individuals offered to sell them their time, and let them go free. This poor woman gave herself up to earn the money to redeem them; and it was very affecting to see how she toiled, and denied herself even the necessaries of life, in order to secure their liberty. Nothing daunted her; no hardship discouraged her; in the cold, when the snow was on the ground, you might see her working, with but little clothing, and her feet bare; if you gave her a pair of shoes or a garment, she would soon sell them, to get money to increase the fund which was to secure the liberation of her husband and children. Now, this poor creature practised economy for the promotion of the great end she had in view; I do not say that was wise economy in her case, for she nearly sacrificed her own life to it. Now, you mothers can understand and appreciate this woman's conduct; if you had husbands, sons, or daughters in slavery, would you not do as she did? This woman had no love for money, or for anything, only as it sustained a relation to the one great end on which her heart was set. This circumstance illustrates, I say, most powerfully this great principle, that whenever our hearts are supremely set upon any object, we count everything dear as it sustains a relation to, and secures that object; and he, therefore, who prays sincerely, "thy kingdom come," must have his heart so set upon the object as to exercise a joyful and perpetual economy, with an especial reference to that end.

 

 


FROM THE PENNY PULPIT, SERMON 5 - THE SPIRITUAL CLAIMS OF LONDON. paragraph 22

     IV. Notice some of the conditions by which the true spirit of this injunction may be complied with. 1. Confidence in the presence, and in the ready and effectual co-operation of Christ. What do you suppose Christ intended by saying, "Lo! I am with you always, even to the end of the world?" For what purpose did Christ make this promise if he did not mean, Lo! I am with you for the effectual helping of you to do what I have commanded you? Now, I suppose when Christ said these words, "Lo! I am with you always even to the end of the world," he would have us to understand this, which is the spirit of the promise: do this work, and mind, you shall not be straitened in me; you shall receive all the help you need from me. I will be with you in this thing; my heart is with you, my power is with you, my presence is with you, and my sympathies are all with you, always and everywhere. Is not this the meaning? What else can be meant by these words? Now, I suppose no Christian will deny that this is the meaning of the words, and the very meaning that Christ intended to convey to us. Now, if so, we must believe it. Everything that Christ has said is to be received in faith; in order that it may be effectual, it must be received in faith; therefore, I observe as the first condition upon which the Church can ever secure the conversion of the world, or individuals can convert those around them, we must believe that Christ is with us. Now, it is generally admitted, that Christ is in some sense with his Church; but he is only with his Church so far as he is there personally with the individuals who compose that Church, in their efforts to secure, and do what he requires of them. We are to believe this, have confidence in the fact that he is present to help us by his spirit, always present with us, and ready to sympathise, and co-operate with us for the securing of the great end which we are commanded to accomplish. 2. Once more: I regard this as a fundamental condition of success; a realising reliance on, and appropriation of this truth by the Church of Christ. Where this is not realised and appropriated, I believe there is little power to convert men from their sins. 3. Again: Another condition of success is that we thoroughly believe that in Christ's strength we are able to go up and take possession of the land. There must be the conviction and the realisation of the fact, by the Church, that she is able to do what Christ has commanded her to do: that Christians are able to accomplish the end at which he has told them to aim. This truth stands out blazing on the pages of inspiration that the Church is able to convert the world, and that he shall ultimately possess the land. 4. Another condition of success in this great enterprise, is the devotion of the whole Church to this work. This enterprise cannot be accomplished by a few of the members of the Church, while the rest of them stand right in the way. Every indolent member is a hindrance in the way of good being done. That individual who is not engaged in the work stands right in the way, and will often undo as much as the others can effect; therefore the body of the Church, the whole membership of the Church, must come up to this work. If, now, the entire body of the Church of this City of London were to come up to this work, and engage in it with ardour, take hold of it in faith, believing that in Christ's strength they are able to possess the land, what a vast revival of religion would you witness in this city. 5. Once more, a thorough realisation of individual responsibility in this work is indispensable to success. A vast multitude of professors of religion feel but little personal responsibility. But if the masses of the people are ever to be converted, the entire membership of the Church must become alive to this fact, that they are individually accountable for the conversion of their fellow-creatures. Every one will see, if he reflects upon it, that this must be a condition of success on a large scale. Now, if you ask me what I suppose to be the greatest difficulty in the way of success, in the extension of religion, in any locality, I would reply, the unbelief and want of right spirit and agency on the part of professors in that locality. They are not in a state in which they can realise their own responsibility; and they have not confidence in the Gospel. Now, while this is the case with them, they are hindering, instead of advancing, the Gospel, in their midst. 6. Another indispensable condition of success is this, there must be sympathy with Christ in love to souls. Those who would undertake this work must enter into Christ's sympathies, feel as he felt and feels for sinners, pity them as he pities them, blame them as he blames them; take God's part against them as he does, and yet stand in such a relation as to sympathise both with God and man; addressing themselves to the work as Christ and the Apostles addressed themselves to the work. It is a very remarkable fact that those Christians in every age of the Church who have entered into sympathy both with God and man, have been those whose efforts have told most upon the world. The Lord Jesus Christ is a beautiful, perfect, specimen of this; he sympathised most intensely with the holiness of God, and yet he felt most tenderly for the distressed and guilty condition of fallen man. He was full of zeal for the purity of the Divine government; he was always ready to sacrifice his life, as he did sacrifice it, to honour the law; still he was full of compassion, kindness, and love, to all classes and conditions of men, whatever might be their forlorn and suffering condition. He stood between God and man, and sympathised, not with the sins of men, but with the infirmities and sufferings of their nature--all that in an any way affected their well-being. He stood in such a relation as to be an example to us; he sympathised both with God and man. The primitive Church caught the same spirit, for although his personal intercourse with them had ceased, he continued to be with them through the agency of his Spirit; and thus they possessed the same idea, and practised the same course of conduct. They came into habits of deep sympathy with God in their love for souls. They counted not their lives dear unto them, if by any means they might save souls; and the spoiling of their goods in this enterprise, they took joyfully, counting themselves honoured in having to suffer for his name and cause. They laid themselves without reserve on the altar, and this was the secret of their success. Now, beloved brethren, the conditions of success are the same now as then. If there is to be many converted, there must be a spirit of fervent prayer, and a large development of this sympathy of which I have been speaking, in the souls of Christ's ministers, the same as in the days of the Apostles. If you ask me, What is the reason of the want of success now? I say, the great reason is, because the spirit with which Christ and the Apostles began this work is not developed in the Church, and in individual members of the Church, to such an extent as to move the world--this is the reason of the difficulty. It is not that the Gospel is different. The Gospel is just the same now as it was in the days when the Apostles preached it; it will have just the same power in our hands that it had in the hands of the Apostles. Some persons speak as if they supposed that in the mouths of uninspired men the Gospel could not be expected to produce such great effects as when the Apostles preached it. But why, pray? What has inspiration to do with it? Inspiration revealed the Gospel; taught men to write what they have recorded; which record we have, and the same spirit which indited it, to explain it. Wherein, then, are we deficient? Depend upon it, friends, if we have the same spirit of love and confidence, with the same sympathy which they had both with God and man, the Gospel will be as powerful in our hands as it was in the hands of the Apostles. Since I have been a Christian myself, I have seen many hundreds of instances in which wonderful success in winning souls to Christ has attended those who have had the qualifications of which I have been speaking--sympathy with God and man. But I cannot now enter into these details or even mention these instances, in one lecture. I should like to deliver a course of lectures to this Society, instead of one, that I might direct your attention to these things. 7. Again: another condition of the success of the Churches in any given locality, is this--they must enter into sympathy with Christ, in respect to his spirit of self-sacrifice for the promotion of this work. The spirit of the Gospel is essentially a spirit of self-denial; and rely upon it, when this spirit is developed in the Church she will succeed in making great progress in this work. In order to great success there must be the same willingness to lay everything upon the altar, that was manifested by Christ, his Apostles, and the Primitive Church. Jesus laid everything upon the altar, in order to save men; and we must count nothing dear to us that can be given up for the promotion of this great object. 8. Another indispensable condition to success is the entire consecration of the ministry to this work. The ministers of Christ bear a very important relation to this work, but they are not required to accomplish it all themselves. They are like the officers in an army; instead of attempting to do all the fighting themselves, they direct the energies of others. Ministers are the officers in Christ's great army, who are fighting against sin, and seeking to win dominion for their Master: they take an important and leading part in the work, but by no means are they to be expected to do all the fighting themselves, any more than officers are in any army in the world. 9. I said there must be entire consecration to this work; and let me add further, that unless they manifest a true spirit of consecration, they will be stumbling-blocks to the rest of the Church. It is indispensable that they should show themselves to be men given up to this work, absolutely,--men possessing the true spirit of self-sacrifice, sympathising with God and man; and that they are on the altar in this matter. Without this, the masses in any locality will never be moved, and the minister will be a hindrance in the way of good being done. I do not know what may be the condition of the ministry here in London, and therefore I speak not personally, but I speak a general truth when I say, that if Christians do not see that their ministers are heart and soul in this work, that they are ready to sacrifice anything to promote it, they are, and must be, stumbling-blocks in the way of good being done. In order to be greatly useful, these men, whom God has placed in such a position, must let everybody see that they are heart and soul in this work, that they have laid their all upon the altar, that they count not their comfort, their reputation, their salary, nor even their lives dear unto themselves in comparison to moving the masses of mankind and bringing them to God. 10. Another indispensable condition of success is this: Lay men and women must cease to lay down one rule for their minister and another for themselves. They must conduct themselves by the same rule, and be upon the altar, too, in their respective spheres of labour. Instead of criticising their ministers, and finding fault with them, they must work under his direction and assistance. If the membership of the Church just suppose that they can put their responsibility upon the ministers, they are entirely mistaken. Suppose that the ministers come into the pulpits Sunday after Sunday, and labour, and toil, and weep, and pray, and the sinners sit and listen to the solemn and awful truths which come from the preacher's lips, and feel that they are solemn and awful realities; but suppose in the same place there is a multitude of careless professors of religion who show by their conduct that they don't believe what has been preached, what stumbling-blocks are they in the way of the conversion of these sinners, who would otherwise, in all probability, be converted! By their conduct they seem to say, "We don't believe in the truth of what our minister says in the pulpit--it is all very well for Sunday, and he is paid to believe and teach these things, but we don't concern ourselves about them." How many times, when ministers have poured out all their heart before a congregation, have sinners been roused, and felt their hearts start up in fear, and their hair to stand on end, in consequence of what they have heard; they are deeply impressed. The congregation begins to move out, the professors of religion laugh and shake hands with each other, and going home they converse upon indifferent subjects, just as if they had not been hearing of those great and eternal realities; and seem to say by all their words, actions, and looks, "Don't you be alarmed, you see we are not at all alarmed, and we have heard more about these things than ever you did; these things may be very well for the Sabbath, and fit for the pulpit, but there is no truth in them." No wonder that sinners are unconverted! The membership of the Churches must be made to feel their individual responsibility, they must come into sympathy with Christ, and with the minister so far as he sympathises with Christ, and labour with him for the conversion of souls. Let them understand that they must cease to apply one rule to the minister, another to themselves; let them feel their individual responsibility, and come right out and consecrate themselves for the work, and lay their all upon God; and then we shall see a great revival of true religion in our midst. 11. Another indispensable condition of success is, that our religion must begin at home, with our children and those immediately under our influence; and then we must seek the conversion of those whom, next to these, we can most readily reach and influence. When individuals are themselves converted, let them next secure the conversion of their children and those around them; and if they did this, they would create around them a little green and refreshing spot like that around the Siloam well, and its delightful soul-cheering and holy influence would soon be felt on every side. Let it be understood that persons must begin at home, and with those immediately around them, and then the influence must necessarily extend further. This must not only be felt to be true of ministers, but of everybody professing godliness. Let them each lay hold on their next friend, and bring him to Christ. 12. Another condition of success is this. The Church, and every individual member of the Church, must realise the guilt and danger of sinners. Let them look at it, and dwell upon it as they ought, and not turn their minds away from it. I have often thought that the reason why there is so little distress in the Church with respect to the state of sinners is, that Christians do not like to consider their real guilt and danger. They do not stir up their minds to a consideration of the real state of their children and their neighbours around them. Now, let me say, if persons are ever to be stirred up to take hold upon this subject, they must think upon it; and if they are ever to come into sympathy with God and man, they must attend to this subject; the mind must dwell upon it. 13. Once more: another condition of success is this--the members of the Church must cease to operate so much by proxy as they now do. The fact is, there is a very great and fatal tendency in Christians to do this, the great business of their lives, by proxy. They hire a minister, and pay a pound or two towards the support of a missionary, or a colporteur, and fancy that they have done the whole of their duty. Now, it is true that much good is to be done by ministers, missionaries, colporteurs, district visitors, and others in their several departments, but the Church membership must be wholly engaged if there is to be a large measure of success. The personal exertion of every Christian is needful and imperative; personal influence, personal conversation, prayer, and intelligent warning must be a condition of success in this great enterprise. I have never known this species of effort to be employed in any locality without an immediate and glorious result. I do not believe, in the history of the world, that the membership of any Church, in any part of the world, have engaged in this work in a right spirit, and from proper motives, without the success being such as to astonish themselves, it has been so far above all that they had expected. I say that every individual should be personally engaged in making known the Gospel, but I do not mean that they can give up their entire time to this work, but I do mean to say that very much more time might be employed by professors in this work than is at present, and immense good might result from it. 14. Another condition of success is: the Church must cease to neglect her duty, and then charge the failure upon the sovereignty of God. Some people talk as if want of success was to be ascribed to some mysterious sovereignty of God. It will do for us to talk of the sovereignty of God when we have done our duty, but not before. Why, what would you think of a man who should neglect to sow his field, and then, because at the time of harvest he had no crop, should ascribe it to the sovereignty of God? Or what would you think of a man who so shamefully neglected his business as to become a bankrupt, and then charge it to the sovereignty of God? Why, you would see the absurdity and wickedness of it at once. If the farmer tills and sows his land properly and wisely, and then God should send a blight upon it, so be it; but until he has done his duty in the spirit of dependence upon God, let him cease to talk, as if the want of a crop was the result of some mysterious sovereignty of God. So with Christians, they must cease to neglect their duty before they talk of the sovereignty of God hindering the conversion of sinners. 15. Again: professors of religion must cease to suppose that they do their duty, when they do not live in the true spirit of the Gospel. For example, suppose a minister should go into the pulpit from ambitious motives, that his chief desire should be to secure a great name for himself; and suppose this minister should say when he got home, "Well, I have preached so many times to-day, and I have done my duty." He preaches with a cold and unbelieving heart, and with little or no sympathy with Christ, little of no faith in the efficacy of the Gospel; and then can go home and say, "Well, whatever the result, I have done my duty;" and thus the want of success which is sure to follow such preaching, is thrown carelessly and wickedly upon God. "I have done my duty." No! You have not done your duty, even if you have preached the Gospel in all its truth, unless you have done it from a right motive, and in the spirit of the Gospel. If there are ministers present, let me say, that I am not affirming that you do any of these things, and preach the Gospel from wrong and impure motives, for I know you not; but I would call your attention to this, my brethren, for neither you nor I preach the Gospel in the spirit in which we ought to preach it, although we may preach the truth, and nothing but the truth, if we do not preach it in the spirit, and with the faith that Christ requires. Suppose our hearers should come to meeting and hear the Gospel, but not obey it, not believe it, and should then go home and say, "Well, we have been to meeting, and so we have done our duty." Nay! they have tempted God, instead of doing their duty. Let us, then, cease to talk about religion or duty, unless we come to our duty with right motives, and perform it in a right spirit. When we have done this, we may cast the results upon God, assured that Christ will complete the work which we have thus begun--for he says, "Lo! I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world." 16. Another condition of success is this: the Church must come out from the world and show herself, and let it be known that God has a people in the world. Let there be a visible and plain distinction, that people may see that they are actuated by a different spirit, and living for a different end: they must appear to be what God says they are, "a holy nation, a royal priesthood, a peculiar people, zealous of good works." This is to be plainly seen as an indispensable condition of eminent success. 17. The stumbling-blocks, which have been produced by a worldly spirit, must be taken out of the way. If we have manifested an unkind, or unjust, or unchristian spirit, in our families, in our neighbourhoods, or in our business relations; anything that caused men to stumble; led them to doubt our Christianity, or gave them reason to doubt whether there was any truth in religion at all,--I say we must take these stumbling-blocks up, we must take them out of the way; we must confess our sins and forsake them, and show, by our constant anxiety for the souls of our children and our neighbours, that we have faith in our religion, and desire them to participate in its blessings. As an illustration, let me mention a fact which occurred in America. An elder of a Presbyterian Church, one of the most respectable men of the town where he lived, and was thought by his neighbours to be a very religious man, as he attended to the forms of religion very regularly; but still there was a deal of formality about him, and but little of the powerful life-giving energy of religion. This man had a large family of sons and daughters at the time of which I am speaking, men and women grown, and yet none of them were converted. One day he was walking alone, a little way from his house, when he became very seriously impressed with the thought that his family were not converted, and questioned himself as to the reason; and he was forcibly struck with the conviction that he had never entered into the subject with them in such a manner as that they should be able to realise their guilt and danger; and as he continued to reflect upon this, such was his agony that he trembled fearfully, and the perspiration rolled down his face. He started off for his house, and before he could get there he fairly ran. When he reached the house he inquired in a very excited voice for one and another of his children; hearing the tones and manner in which their father was speaking, the family were soon assembled to learn what could be the matter. When they were all come together, the father fell upon his knees, and made confession to them and to God, and prayed for their souls. It so affected the whole family that in a very short time they were all converted. Now, I could tell you of multitudes of cases similar to this, where individuals have come to see that they have not done their duty, but have resolved to do it, and obtained a blessed result. 18. Again: if the Church will succeed in this matter, she must be willing to be searched and reproved; and the language of every member must be, "Search me, O search me, and try my heart, and see what evil there is in me; and lead me in the way that is everlasting." They must be intensely desirous to know what is essential to this great work, and to be made fit for its accomplishment. There must be deep self-examination, and a determination to do whatever is necessary to be done. 19. The Church must cease to grieve the Holy Spirit by her selfishness and self- indulgence. The fact is, persons are often complaining that they want the Spirit, while they are grieving the Spirit by their self-indulgent practices. While in this state it is naturally impossible for them to have the Spirit dwelling in their hearts. Many individuals grieve the Holy Spirit, and yet they are not conscious of it. They live in a great many forms of self-indulgence, and complain of the absence of the Spirit, and yet do not know wherein they are in fault. Are not ministers often very guilty in this respect? My design is not to reprove ministers where reproof is not needed; but I must be faithful. Oh, brethren, take care not to grieve the Holy Spirit! Watch your thoughts, and be careful of all your actions, and separate yourselves from worldly men and worldly influences as much as you can, in order that you may the more effectually help forward the work of God. 20. The spirit of caste must be got rid of. By the spirit of caste I mean the spirit that seems to overlook the fact that men are brethren. From the very nature of things, I know there will be different stations in society, and which probably will always exist to a greater or less extent; and those which are proper I do not condemn; but there is an improper feeling and spirit too much prevalent among many in the higher walks of life, which prevents their doing good to those below them in station. I have been astonished sometimes to see the aversion of many professors of religion to descend to the lower class of society to do them good. Now, you know that this was not the case with Jesus Christ, whose constant aim it was to benefit and bless the poor; and he even went to this class for the men whom he chose for his apostles, to carry the Gospel to the world. I cannot enlarge upon this now; but you all know that in every locality there is a spirit of caste that misrepresents the Christian religion, and does an immense injury to the great mass of the lower classes in consequence. Christians, while they should faithfully rebuke their vices and reprove them for their sins, should also deeply sympathise with them in their poverty, and pity their distresses; and this is the way to win their hearts and lead them to the Saviour. The most flimsy infidelity takes possession of their minds, just in proportion to the seeming sympathy of the infidel teachers with their wants and necessities. They know how to appreciate such kindness; and the fact is, there is a great want of deep and intense sympathy on the part of the Christian Church with the masses of the poorer classes. Let this state of things be altered; let them get the impression, let it be once understood, that Christians are living to do them good in every way, and they will prefer Christianity to infidelity. It is not meant that Christians, in showing their sympathy should take such a part as to connive at their intemperance or sin in any form; but let the Christian seek to win them from vice, and persuade them to give up their intemperance in every form and degree; seek their welfare, temporal and spiritual, and a blessed result will follow. I have been astonished many times to see what a want of this spirit is to be found in different localities; and, in consequence, the mass of mankind are carried away with the most flimsy and absurd infidelity, because Christians fail to take any deep sympathy and interest in them. Now, if you are parents, let your families see that you earnestly desire their conversion to God. If you are a master, and have many persons under your influence, let them see that you have an earnest desire for their good, that you are vastly more desirous of securing their soul's salvation than their services in your business. The power of such conduct will be very great; it will move them--there is no mistake about it. But I must pass rapidly over these thoughts. 21. The Churches must be willing to be searched, and must help to search each other. Several years since, the students of one of my theological classes came to me for advice, as to the best plan they could adopt to assist each other in the best possible way to prepare for the ministry. I advised them to have a weekly meeting to search each other, to open their hearts to each other; and, furthermore, to privately tell each other their faults, and in the most fraternal manner try to reform everything that was wrong in their hearts, spirit, habits, and manners; in all and everything to make the most holy self-denial; and to unite in prayer for each other. They did this in several classes, and just in proportion as they have been faithful to each other, have I had the satisfaction of seeing them become prosperous and godly men, scattered about over our great country, with hearts full of love and faith, prosecuting the great work to which Christ has called them. Those classes that did most for each other in the way which I have named, have succeeded best, since they entered the ministry, in winning souls to Christ. Thus, I say, the Churches of Christ must be willing to be searched, they must search each other by all possible fidelity, kindness, and brotherly love. 22. Once more, all parties must realise their true responsibility. Every individual must remember that he is to be a missionary. We speak of missionaries as if they were men only who were sent to preach the Gospel to the heathen, or were connected with some Society for spreading the Gospel at home, forgetting often that every Christian is a missionary, or ought to be. 23. A high standard of piety is an indispensable condition to success in this work: there will never be any very great success in this city, or in any other locality, if the standard of piety be not greatly elevated in the Churches. In those localities that I have known, where great revivals of religion have taken place, the standard of piety has been raised higher and higher from time to time. Some person speak of revivals as if they were mere temporary excitements; that after revivals there has been declension, which has left the standard of religion lower than it was before the revival took place. Now, so far as my experience goes, I never knew such a state of things as that; if it was really a revival of religion, and Christians have got the standard of piety elevated in their own hearts, they will get a new development of spiritual life, from the brightness of which they may afterwards decline; but they will never go back so far as they were before. I have known persons pass through another and another revival; but at every succeeding revival they have had a higher development of spiritual life within them. Now, I stand not here to charge you with being hypocrites or backsliders, but I say, if you are to move the masses, and be the means of numerous conversions, you must have a higher standard of piety, a higher development of spiritual life. This must be! I will take your present standard at any given point, and say, from that point, whatever it may be, your piety must be greatly elevated; and just in that proportion will you be able to reach and influence those around you. If there are any ministers who sustain such a position before their people as not move their hearts, let me tell them that they never will move them, until they themselves have a higher development of spiritual life. Visitors, tract distributors, and all other labourers in this work, let me tell you--and you will, of course, not be offended with me when I tell you--that there must be a more thorough development of Christ in you; it must manifest itself in your looks, manners, and voice, that every man with whom you meet may be satisfied that you are sincere. A man by only looking at you can tell whether you are in earnest. The tone of your voice will often reveal the state of your heart. A man might go through the streets of the city calling, Fire! fire! in such tones that nobody would believe him. Now, you must speak about religion in such tones that people will believe you, or you will fail to make any impression. If you speak about religion in such a way as to lead men to suppose that you don't yourself believe what you are saying, it is impossible for you to get persons to believe what you say. You must be so much in earnest that your earnestness cannot be concealed. Whitfield used to stand in this pulpit, and let me ask what was the secret of his power? His earnestness. Everybody knew that he was in earnest. All men felt, they could not but feel, that he was in solemn earnest, and so they listened and were saved. Let the Church awake up from sleep, and show herself to be in earnest, and when she has done this, if she fails, then talk of the sovereignty of God, and not before.

 

 


FROM THE PENNY PULPIT, SERMON 6 - CHRIST MAGNIFYING THE LAW. paragraph 20

     Now, the mistake against which I am endeavouring to guard you, has prevailed, more or less, from the days of the Apostles till the present time. This mistake early began to develop itself, and James, by his Epistle, designed to correct this mistake. It has been thought that the Epistle of James contradicts the Epistle of Paul, but nothing is further from the truth. James insisted upon men having faith which works by love--practical faith, that makes them holy. The Apostle Paul says, men are not justified by works, but both agree that personal holiness is a condition of salvation--not a ground, but a condition. 4. Again: multitudes of persons, in every age of the Church, have been found, who have seemed to array the Gospel against the law, as if the moral law had been abrogated. Let me illustrate what I mean. In one of the cities of the United States, where a revival took place some few years since, a lady who belonged to an episcopal church in that city, came to me and said, "I am distressed with the state of things in our Church; the ladies of that Church are so conformed to the world in their habits of dress, and in their frivolous and light conduct, that I went to our minister about it, and told him how much I was grieved; and what do you think he said to me? 'I consider that these ladies are among the most pious members of my church; the reason why they act as they do is, they do not rely upon their own works, they expect to be saved alone by the merits of Christ.'" Now, what sort of an idea had these people, and this minister, of the Gospel, of the way of salvation? Just think of this; these people were living worldly, selfish, self-indulgent lives, and yet they expected to be saved by the merits of Christ. They supposed that the righteousness of Christ was imputed to them in such a sense; that they could personally conform to the world, and yet be saved. Personally, like all other sinners, and yet by an imputed righteousness that did not imply any personal holiness, they could be saved. What is this but Antinomianism? And what is this but the religion of great multitudes of persons? You urge them to holiness of life, and this is not preaching the Gospel to them; you urge them to obedience, to self-denial, and to live lives worthy of their high vocation, and this imply no Gospel,--this is urging men to a holiness of their own!

 

 


FROM THE PENNY PULPIT, SERMON 9 - GREAT CITIES - WHAT HINDERS THEIR CONVERSION? paragraph 38

But, let me say again, there must be a great deal more done to interest the masses. The masses must be sympathized with, there must be references to them in sermons and everything that is done. The world is carrying the masses away, we must reclaim them. While the world is running away with the masses, the Church is satisfying herself with securing the support and attendance of the great, while the masses fail to be converted, or even interested. There must be much more prayer and self-denial. Now, who does not know, from the nature of the case, and from the history of the Church, and from the world, that intemperance is going on to ruin our great cities; till Christians deny themselves, touch not, taste not, handle not, there can be no hope of saving the masses from going down to destruction. As you walk along the streets and see the men and women, and even the little children, sitting before the tippling houses, you should say, and resolve that, as God lives, and you live, anything you can do in this respect--any self-denial you can make, you are willing to submit to, in order that you may lead the way. I have been pained to see the slowness of British Christians in this respect. I have heard them say, that teetotallers make it their religion. Now, I think there is some danger of making "drinking a little" a religion, too. I know some who, when they have drunk "just a little," can pray, or sing, or do anything else well. When I was a young man I taught a school and boarded in a family, where the man came home three times a-week half intoxicated. Now, I noticed that on these occasions he used to pray very earnestly, and at no other time did he pray at all. I have thought of this many times, when I have seen ministers take "just a little to assist them." The Lord deliver me from such a snare as this!

 

 


FROM THE PENNY PULPIT, SERMON 10 - CHRIST THE MEDIATOR. paragraph 30

How was this demonstration to be made? How was the law to be honored? Who was to do it? See, God's own Son, closely associated with him, one with him in the formation and government of the universe, takes upon himself human nature, and represents the race; he undertakes to be the impersonation and representative of sin. God is about to show how he regards sin, by inflicting the penalty due to man, upon one who has come forth to be a Mediator between the sinner and the insulted majesty of the law. God is about to make a terrible demonstration, and show to the whole universe his deep and eternal abhorrence of iniquity. Now, this will fulfill the law even more thoroughly than if the consequences of sin had been visited upon the heads of the guilty themselves. "He laid upon him the iniquity of us all!" What a wonderful demonstration was this! Again: It is plain that this condition was indispensably necessary. God, as the governor of the universe, must insist upon something being done to meet the claims of public justice; the dishonored law must be restored, public justice must be appeased; the spirit of the law must be maintained in all its integrity. Now, there was only one being in the universe qualified to sustain the office. The Lord Jesus Christ was both God and man; he sustained such a relation to both the parties as to be in a position to "magnify the law," and make it even more honourable than it would have been made by its execution upon mankind. Christ satisfied the claims of public justice, and hence it is said, "he gave himself a ransom for all." Christ, by his atonement, testified to the manner in which God regarded the sins of man. Again: Our Lord Jesus Christ knew well what it would cost him. I said just now, that one of the conditions of a Mediator's success must be this: that if the office should call for any sacrifice on his part, he must be fully willing to make it--he must be willing to make any sacrifice, or undergo any degree of self-denial, which may be requisite in the nature of the case. Now, the Lord Jesus Christ knew well what it would cost him. It was no part of his business to compromise the claims of public justice; no part of his business to justify iniquity, or let down the authority of the law. He new better what he had to do, than to act thus; and he was willing to do what the office required of him. Again: the circumstances of Christ's death were such as could never be accounted for except upon the supposition, that he suffered not as a mere mortal, but as the representative of a race of sinners. The circumstances of his death were of a very peculiar nature. He died not as martyrs generally die; when they have been tied to the stake the words of gladness and triumph have burst from their lips, and they have passed from earth shouting and singing glory to God. Christ did not die so. How was this? Is it true that Christ was more afraid to die than martyrs are? What was it extorted from him that cry--"My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" How was that? Is God wont to forsake even the meanest of his saints in their hour of trial? Let me ask those who have been in the habit of visiting the deathbeds of the saints, how many, when the last enemy was approaching, and when the clammy sweat was upon their brow, have you heard speak in the language and with the accents of despair? Did they cry out, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" No, indeed! Their language is that of peace, serenity, triumph, and when their voice has been gone, they would give you a quivering grasp of the hand, to indicate that the light of God's countenance was upon them. The fact, then, is plain; he died not as a martyr but as the representative of a sinful race. Although God loved him infinitely, still, as the representatives of a sinful race, in his displeasure he poured down upon him the vials of his indignation. The death of Christ was intended to make an impression upon the universe, and all the circumstances attending it show what a wonderful effect it had. When he was nailed to the cross the sun refused to look on, and the heavens were clothed with sackcloth; the whole universe seemed to be shaking to its foundations. Heathen philosophers observed it, and said, Either nature is being dissolved, or the god of nature is dying. The dead could not sleep in their graves, the earth trembled, and the tombs opened, and those who had been dead issued forth, and walked into the city. The veil of the temple was rent in twain. God made a mighty impression upon the entire universe, when, in order that sinners might be pardoned, he thus made a fearful demonstration of his hatred against sin.

 

 


FROM THE PENNY PULPIT, SERMON 11 - PROVING GOD. paragraph 19

But I remark again, We must not stickle at little things. For example, "If thy right hand offend thee, cut it off." It is not promised that we shall be saved with it on. We cannot say, "God must save us with our right hand." The idea is this, that the most useful thing, --things which are important to you--if, after all, they become to you such a stumblingblock that you cannot stand, put them away. The right hand is certainly most useful; but even if it were "the right eye," we are told "to pluck it out." What, then, is the principle involved here? We are never to expect God to grant us blessings promised on condition of any sacrifice or self-denial, if we neglect the conditions imposed upon us. "If thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off and cast them from thee; it is better for thee to enter into life halt and maimed, rather than, having two hands or two feet, to be cast into everlasting fire." Now, what does this teach? Why, "if even your right hand offend you, cut it off, or I shall let you go to hell; for you need not think that if you refuse to make the self-denial I shall save you notwithstanding." While you hesitate, and will not walk up to the mark, and undertake this self denial, which God makes the sole condition of blessing you--while you will not do this, you labour in vain; he will not bless you, he will not prosper you. Now, this may be applied to a thousand things; the fact is, that if a Christian, or any person, would have God's blessing, he must absolutely stickle at no act of self-denial required as a condition--he must strenuously avoid anything prohibited, or aught that would stand in the way of his obtaining the thing promised; and if we do not regard these conditions, the fault is our own if we do not obtain the blessing. But I remark again, Another condition indispensable to proving God, is, that we really enter into God's motives, and do what we do for the motives from which God acts. We must be benevolent, not selfish. If, for example, we pray for sinners, we must regard sinners as he does; and desire their conversions for the same reason that he desires it. If we seek blessings for ourselves, we must ask them for the same reason for which he would be able to grant them. "Ye ask and receive not, because ye ask amiss," that is, your motive is not right--you do not sympathise with God's motives--you do not ask the blessing, for a reason for which it would be honourable for God to grant it.

 

 


FROM THE PENNY PULPIT, SERMON 12 - TOTAL ABSTINENCE A CHRISTIAN DUTY. paragraph 11

The question may be viewed in a great many aspects; it may be argued in a vast variety of ways. It may be discussed, for example, as a scientific question; and, in America, it has been extensively regarded in this light. I do not intend to take up this point to-night; I shall examine simply the religious bearings of the question. I am well aware that the scientific view is extremely important; it is easy enough, however, to proceed to the discussion of it as a religious question, without entering very fully into the scientific department of it. My position, then, is not that the use of intoxicating drinks in any quantity, and under all circumstances, is necessarily sinful; nor do I take the ground that any use of it is wrong, independently of the circumstances under which it is used, and the reasons which have prompted such use. I do not take the ground that any use of it is wrong, irrespective of the circumstances under which, and the reasons for which it is used; for I can conceive of circumstances under which it may be supposed to be the duty of an individual to drink--even in quantities sufficiently copious to produce intoxication--in order to meet some constitutional emergency. Physicians maintain this ground, and patients may think it necessary; under such circumstances, therefore, it is taken innocently; the thing is right or wrong according to the reasons and circumstances which demand its use. Strictly speaking, nothing is right in itself, but that love which the law of God commands; nothing is wrong, in itself, but the opposite state of mind. But it is not my purpose to discuss this question, but only to say that when we would inquire into the lawfulness of any particular act, such as the use of alcohol, we must understand the circumstances under which, and the reasons for which it is used, in order to understand whether it is right or wrong in an individual case. Again, the question is not whether it may or may not be used as a medicine when recommended by a competent physician. I do not deny that it may be used as a medicine under certain circumstances; nor do I say that it is wrong to use wine at the table of the Lord. The Temperance Question has suffered much from the controversy on this point; for if Christ has ordered the use of wine on that occasion, and as matters are left so that it cannot be positively ascertained whether his wine was alcoholic or not, the question need not be discussed; inasmuch as the quantity used at such times is so very small. Again, Paul enjoined Timothy to "Drink no longer water but take a little wine for his stomach's sake, and his often infirmities." It was lawful, therefore, for him to take a little. The Apostle did not require him to take much; nor is it necessary or usual to take much at the Communion Table, so that this part of the question does not strictly belong to the Temperance Reformation. Again, the question is not whether or not it is necessary in any case, or whether it is or is not an indispensable article of diet in any case; I would take the negative view, but, at present, I cannot make this issue, as it would carry me too far from my main design; nor do I mean just now to affirm, even, that it is in no case useful to persons in robust health, as is commonly supposed. Neither, since I cannot now enter into the scientific bearings of the question, do I mean to determine whether its use is or is not necessary or beneficial to persons in feeble health. I must make the question one of self-denial for the sake of others. I should like to discuss the question of their real necessity or utility under any circumstances; but I must content myself on this occasion with the assumption that, under some circumstances the moderate use of these drinks is useful. I will take up the matter, then, in this way, Is it your duty to forego the use of these drinks as an act of self-denial for the sake of others? I love to discuss the question in this light; because, if these drinks are useful, it affords the Church an opportunity of manifesting her love for the Savior by the sacrifice.

 

 


FROM THE PENNY PULPIT, SERMON 12 - TOTAL ABSTINENCE A CHRISTIAN DUTY. paragraph 30

It does strike me, therefore, that as a matter of self-denial, and as a Christian duty, on the ground of expediency and charity, the question is perfectly plain; still, however, there are many objections, some of which I shall now proceed to answer.

 

 


FROM THE PENNY PULPIT, SERMON 16 - HOW TO PREVAIL WITH GOD. paragraph 18

But, let me say again: that all the hindrances of prevailing prayer, may be summed up in one, which is one of the greatest, if not the greatest of the difficulties--I refer to a want of sympathy with God. How can people hope to prevail with God, unless they sympathize with him? When men really sympathize with him in such a manner as not to stickle at self-denial--when they are imbued with the spirit that led Christ to make the atonement--that led Christ to deny himself, and to do all that he did--to have such a state of mind is a great difficulty. Christ needs his Church to sympathize with him, and while they do not sympathize with him, and are not in a state of mind to deny themselves of even trifling gratifications, for the sake of doing good to the worldly-minded, how can they expect to prevail with God?

 

 


FROM THE PENNY PULPIT, SERMON 16 - HOW TO PREVAIL WITH GOD. paragraph 19

This leads me to say again, a state of mind which will not grieve the Spirit of God, but will watch against everything which does grieve the Spirit of God, is indispensable to the true spirit of prayer. No man can prevail with God who does not bridle his tongue. In these days, people talk a great deal too much to pray well. They grieve the Holy Ghost by their much talking, and their bad talking. People speak harshly of their brethren. Now, such a state of mind is not congenial to prayer, and if you wish to, prevail with God, you must take care and keep yourselves in the love of God, by praying in the Holy Ghost. In order to prevail with God, Christians must have the spirit of love, and walk therein; they must have a spirit tender for the reputation of Christ, and live in such a state towards sinners, as to be willing to make any sacrifices for them. My dear friends, I should last night have done what I now intend to do,--ask, as I go along, do you fulfill these conditions? Are you living in such a sympathy with God and Christ that you are willing to deny yourselves, and to walk before God in such a manner as to give yourselves up to the great work of saving souls? I don't mean by this, that you should forsake your necessary employments, and go about to do nothing else but talk and pray; but are you in such a state of mind, as not to stickle at self-denial? Are you willing to live, and be used up, body, property, and everything, for the promotion of the glory of God, and the salvation of the world? Or would you stickle at some trifling gratification? Can a man offer prevailing prayer, who is unwilling to make sacrifices for the sake of doing more good? Who that had looked at this subject as it is, has not been agonized often, to see the want of sympathy with God? What was the secret of Paul's usefulness? He says, "I speak the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost. That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow of heart. For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ--for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh." He meant to say, he could forego anything personally--he could make any personal sacrifice, if by so doing he could save his kindred according to the flesh. I know that there has been much speculation upon this passage. I have wondered at this. Paul's language is strong, but I have mentioned the purport of his intentions. He would make any sacrifice so far as his own happiness was concerned, he could give up anything they could name. No doubt he did not intend to say that he was willing to go to hell, but that there was no personal sacrifice he would not make. He was willing to hang on the cross, or to suffer anything, so that the world might be saved. Now, I myself know a man who said this, and finally went so far in his sympathy with Christ, as to say, "O Lord Jesus, not only am I willing to hang upon the cross, but till the end of time, if necessary." Now, this is saying much, but it is only expressing the vehement, the agonizing feeling of a man ready to suffer any conceivable thing, if, by so doing, Christ could be honored, and souls could be saved. Such is the spirit to prevail with God--a spirit willing to enter into his sympathies, a spirit which will not hesitate to make any necessary and personal sacrifice, in order to save the souls of men.

 

 


FROM THE PENNY PULPIT, SERMON 22 - THE CHRISTIAN'S RULE OF LIFE. paragraph 14

The term "glory," as it is here used, means renown, reputation. To do everything to the glory of God, is to have this end in view in all that we do; whether we eat or drink or whatsoever we do, 'this to be done for the glory of God: to secure the universal respect and confidence of his subjects; to do those things that shall set his character in the strongest and most attractive light, and that shall lead men thoroughly to understand and appreciate His character; and thus endeavor to win for God the confidence and the hearts of all of his subjects. It is the same thing as to win souls; to endeavor in all our ways to win souls to God, to win souls to Christ, by showing forth the character of Christ in our example, in our tempers, in our spirit, and in all that we do. It is to be our chief aim to set forth His will, His law, and His whole government as perfect, and to make it so lovely and desirable as to draw the hearts of men to Himself, to confide in Him, to love Him, and to obey Him. I repeat, that to do whatever we do to glorify God is to have this great end in view in all our ways, to make ourselves living mirrors reflecting the image of God. Suppose a man should come from America to England, and profess to be a devoted friend of the American Government, but should totally misrepresent it in all that he did. If instead of representing the true spirit of the government--the true Republican spirit,--he should himself be a despot in his spirit and character, and in every respect quite contrary to the real spirit of the American Government, and did not that, in any of his actions, which would truly represent it, what should we say of him? Now, suppose an individual should profess to be a disciple of Christ, should profess to love and obey his government, and to respect and revere his character, and yet he himself in all his ways misrepresented the character of God; that in his spirit and temper, and in his general deportment, he should hold forth a false light, and create a false impression of what the character and government of God really are, what should we say of such professors? Now, suppose a citizen of this country should go forth among the savage tribes of Africa, or any other part of the world, with the avowed object of recommending to them a species of government which, in his estimation, would secure their well-being, if adopted by them. Now, suppose he should profess great admiration of the British Government, but in all his ways and actions should misrepresent it; what would be the effect? Would not the savages think that any governmental constitution was better than such a hideous monster? But, suppose this individual was really sincere and benevolent, suppose that he really felt and believed that the British Constitution would greatly conduce to their well-being, of course he would by all his conduct endeavor to recommend the government; he would seek to show in his own person what kind of a man such a government was calculated to make; his aim would be in all things that he did to recommend the government to the people; he would always have this in view in everything that he either did or said; in all his ways, and by all his actions, he would seek to recommend the government of his country so as to induce those among whom he sojourned to adopt it. Apply this to the government of God. Suppose that those who profess to be the subjects of God's government manifest anything else than the true spirit of that government? For example, suppose, that--instead of showing that they are universally benevolent, and thus exhibit the law of God in it's true spirit, they should manifest a selfish spirit--who does not see that such persons would greatly and grievously misrepresent the true spirit and nature of the character of God's government? But suppose in all things an individual makes his whole life a mirror that shall reflect the pure character of God--the self-denial of Christ, the love of the Father, the purity and excellency of His law, and the perfection of His Government, and thus secure the glory of God, by living a life of universal peace and holiness. I pass now, in the next place, briefly to notice,--and as I am so exceedingly hoarse, I must be very brief; perhaps I shall not make myself understood; I will try, and you may expect nothing more of me--

 

 


FROM THE PENNY PULPIT, SERMON 27 - THE INFINITE WORTH OF THE SOUL. paragraph 31

Again, suppose you should submit to the greatest possible earthly trials and privations, so as to deny yourself every earthly good for 200 years, what then? Suppose you spent the whole of the time in the most entire and universal self-denial--nay, suppose you had hung upon the cross in all the agonies of crucifixion--suppose you should remain there till the end of time, what then? How much more than compensated would you be by the retrospect in a state of everlasting felicity? For the joy which is set before you, can you not afford to endure the cross and despise the shame? When quite a young convert, I remember being very much struck by a resolution of President Edwards, which was to the effect, that all his conduct should have respect to the whole of his existence taken together, and that he would decide the propriety of any course by regarding it in view of his endless being. It struck me at the time as a resolution worthy of a child of God. How shall I regard my conduct ten thousand years hence, when I have grown so old that the universe has passed away with a great noise rolling up like a scroll--when the sun has gone out, and the material universe is scarcely remembered--how shall I regard it then? Suppose that the virtuous were completely miserable, and that the sinful were completely happy in this world; and that this life were to continue not only while it will, but to be extended for as many myriads of ages as it is possible to conceive of, still men would be infinitely mad to choose present happiness and future misery. But it is not so--it cannot be so--the man who fears God enjoys indefinitely more, even here, than the sinner; for "the way of transgressors is hard." How much there is to embitter every day and hour of his existence. Ah! how little real enjoyment has a wicked man, even in this life! Poor creature! And is this the best he is ever to have? Oh yes, this is the best, poor as it is, and mingled as it is with bitterness! What infinite madness! There is no profit at all; it is only an appearance of profit for a few moments--a feverish excitement which will react and render the misery the greater.

 

 


FROM THE PENNY PULPIT, SERMON 32 - A PUBLIC PROFESSION OF CHRIST. paragraph 12

Again: it is a public surrender to Christ, or submission to him. It is a public avowal of submission and consecration to him in the relations he sustains to men. It is, I say, a public act of submission, and a surrendering of everything up to him as the only Saviour of the world. Again: it is a public avowal of sympathy with him in the great work in which he is engaged, that of bringing about the salvation of men. Again, it implies a public renunciation of self and the spirit of self-seeking. A public profession of self-denial, in this sense, that we no longer live for ourselves; it is a profession therefore of universal devotion to God. But again: it also implies dependence on him in all the relations in which he is exhibited. Further: it implies a confession of sin that we cannot be saved by our own righteousness, not even begin to be saved. It is a public profession of the impossibility of being saved on the ground of law, and therefore a public declaration of the fact that Christ is the only possible way in which a man can be saved. All profession then is designed to be a public avowal of confidence in the truths of the gospel, of submission to Christ, and of dependence on his authority. Again: it is a public renunciation of the spirit of the world!

 

 


FROM THE PENNY PULPIT, SERMON 33 - THE WHOLE COUNSEL OF GOD. paragraph 16

God is in a three fold sense the owner of every one of these souls. First, he created them all. Secondly, he preserved them all, and thirdly, he redeemed them all, by the precious blood of Christ. They cost him an infinite price, and he will not see them lost without making inquisition for blood. By a word he gave existence to the material universe. He can speak, and by the energy of his own word, world rises upon world, and system upon system, and by the same means he can people them all; but thus he could not redeem sinners. They, having sinned, were spiritually dead, and incurred the penalty of the Divine law; and to save them from the destruction thus impending was a different work to that of creation, and could not be performed by the going forth of his fiat. To redeem these souls was a work that cost him an infinite price. To ordain these laws by which they came into existence, was comparatively a trifling performance although that required the power of a God but to redeem you, sinner, to purchase you back, to relieve you from the penalty of the Divine law; to make an atonement that God might be just and yet save you cost an infinite price! God's beloved and only Son! for more than thirty years endured intense suffering, labour, persecution, and misrepresentation for you, and finally, your redemption cost him his life. Ah! under the charge of blasphemy the Son of God must die for you and for me! God, for man gave his son, his only son, his well beloved Son, in whom he was well pleased. the Son of God must die! What a sacrifice!It was infinite! Think brethren, of the immense self-denial to which heaven was subjected! Think of that work which, shall I say, the family of the Divine Trinity; what shall I say? the glory of the Godhead, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, combined to carry on with the greatest self-denial; and all this to save the soul! What a testimony is this to its value! We learn here God's opinion of the value of the soul. Think what self-denial on the part of the Father, that he could consent to fit off his only and well beloved Son as a missionary to this world. What must the inhabitants of heaven have thought of it? What a scene must there have been in heaven when the Son of the Eternal Father was fitted off as a missionary to save this dying world!

 

 


FROM THE PENNY PULPIT, SERMON 33 - THE WHOLE COUNSEL OF GOD. paragraph 17

We talk about missionaries to the heathen, and the self-denial which they have to practice, and we get up meetings when they are going to sail for distant climes, that we may manifest our sympathy and mingle our tears with theirs, sing hymns to God, and pray together and give them our blessings and our prayers; and all this is highly proper; but what must have been the state of things when it was announced in heaven that the Son of God was going as a missionary to this world to save us rebels by his blood! There must have been tears of grief and also of inexpressible joy at what was going forward, sympathy for the inhabitants of this world, astonishment at the love of God, and wonder at the undertaking of the Son of God. The whole scheme, when it was first published in heaven, must have filled every part of that world with unutterable joy and sympathy. O, how many millions of hearts were united in sympathy with this wonderful mission which the Son of God had undertaken.

 

 


FROM THE PENNY PULPIT, SERMON 37 - QUENCHING THE SPIRIT. paragraph 17

The Spirit is grieved, resisted, and quenched by all evasions of the truth on questions of reform involving self-denial. There are a great many truths, the reception of which calls for great denial - a breaking off of certain things in which we have been in the habit of indulging ourselves. Suppose now a slaveholder, when the question of the moral character of his class comes up, and suppose that although he is wholly unacquainted with the arguments of his opponents and will not so much as read or even talk or listen to anyone upon the subject suppose also that when he does eventually read or hear a discussion of the question, still, after all, he will not yield to the truth which is presented - he resists the Spirit.

 

 


FROM THE PENNY PULPIT, SERMON 37 - QUENCHING THE SPIRIT. paragraph 18

It is remarkable to see to what an extent this has been manifested in the United States. Then there is the trade in ardent spirits. Traders in these things deal with the question just as the slaveholders do - they selfishly maintain their position and will not give up the traffic. Well now, on any question of reform calling for self-denial, wherever the mind resists, is not candid in receiving and obeying the truth, the Spirit of God is quenched. There are a great many customs prevalent in society which the gospel utterly condemns and whenever these questions come up, and the mind will not receive the truth and make the necessary sacrifices, who does not see that this is quenching and grieving the Spirit who is trying to lead them away from all such practices?

 

 


FROM THE PENNY PULPIT, SERMON 37 - QUENCHING THE SPIRIT. paragraph 31

Now, who does not see that it is the duty of every Christian in the world to take up whatever self-denial these reforms may involve? I have known multitudes of men who have turned their liquors into the street; and who, when urged to dispose of it for chemical purposes, have replied - "No, we will touch not, taste not, handle not the unclean thing."

 

 


FROM THE PENNY PULPIT, SERMON 37 - QUENCHING THE SPIRIT. paragraph 38

But let me say again: Refusing to receive a brother who calls for self-denial is grieving and quenching the Holy Ghost, refusing to sympathize with Christ in his self-denying exertions to do good to the world. He has led the way by showing what he is willing to do to save mankind. Now those who hold back, unwilling to unite with him upon the same principles on which he acted, resist and grieve the Spirit.

 

 


FROM THE PENNY PULPIT, SERMON 37 - QUENCHING THE SPIRIT. paragraph 39

Not long since an individual was talking to his pastor about the propriety of setting an example to his flock by abstaining himself if only for the sake of others. But he said, "Their abuse of it was no reason for his abstinence. They abused many other things as well as that." Now, was this the principle on which Paul acted? No indeed, he was ready to give up meat "as long as the world lasted." On the same principle Christ might have said he did not see why he should suffer because mankind had abused the government of the Almighty in making a bad use of their moral agency. Christ acted upon the principle of saving those who had no excuse for their sins - not the unfortunate, but the wicked. Thus it is that missionaries and other Christians deny themselves so that when the good to them is less than the evil to others, they instantly come out and forego their own good because it is so much less than the evil which might result to others. But when we take such astounding ground as in the case of the said minister, what can we expect but darkness of mind and fruitlessness of life? In order to have the Spirit of God, we must yield to him, and if we do not do this - if we do not go from one degree of self-denial to another - we resist the Spirit who is trying to lead us up to a higher ground than we have hitherto occupied. The church has never been on a ground so high as to give herself entirely up to reform the world; but he is pressing her up and up. Her business, therefore, is to prepare herself to go the whole length of reforming herself, and those around her, and prepare for any degree of self-denial that may be required in order to accomplish this. But if anyone shall insist upon not giving up this and that, although he knows that the good to be obtained, and the evil to be shunned will far outweigh all that can be gained from indulgence - what would become of the church and the world should they imitate him?

 

 


FROM THE PENNY PULPIT, SERMON 37 - QUENCHING THE SPIRIT. paragraph 41

If the suffering he endured had been greater than that which he prevented, the course he adopted would have been neither wise nor benevolent. He gained for the universe an unspeakable benefit, and prevented an inconceivable injury. His rule should be our guide. Self-denial does us good. Shall we offer the Lord only that which costs us nothing? Shall we say that while a thing is a good to us we cannot give it up? Why not? If your so doing will avoid a greater evil, and procure a greater good, you are bound to give it up, if you are bound to be benevolent at all. If you will not sacrifice a small good to yourself for the sake of a great good to others, what kind of a Christian must you be? You go in direct opposition to the Spirit of Christ and of the Apostles. Now if a man speculates about his indulgences - if he "does not see why he should give up" this or that, and the other thing - who can expect him to have a face so clear as to look up to God and say, "Thou knowest, O Lord, that I would rather die than scatter evils thus around me by anything I should do!" The fact is, beloved, there is a world to be said on this subject. Now who does not see that shuffling and conniving like this is grieving the Spirit?

 

 


FROM THE PENNY PULPIT, SERMON 38 - LITTLE SINS. paragraph 25

This leads me to remark again; that the true spirit and meaning of what the apostle says, is as obviously and strongly asserted by reason as it is by revelation. What the apostle asserts is this -- if a man should do any or all of the things required in the decalogue, or ten commandments, in the letter, and yet should violate the true Spirit of one law, he would prove that he did not keep any of them from a right motive -- that he did not really obey the law at all in its true spirit and meaning. If I should keep those which did not cost me much self-denial, or keep them in the letter, but violate them in the spirit, this would prove that none of them were kept from a right motive. Hence, if any one indulges in the commission of any one sin, and yet appears in everything else to be virtuous, you may know that he has not true religion in his hear, that he is only religious in appearance. From what the apostle says in this passage it is plain, that if men pretend to have faith, and pretend to have love, and yet do not obey God, that they are deceiving themselves, and are violating the spirit of the whole of God's law. You can thus see, my dear hearers, that if the heart is right the conduct must be, and if the heart is wrong the conduct is wrong, whatever it may appear outwardly. The conduct is sinful, because it does not proceed from right intention. If the law of God is not obeyed in the spirit of it, it is disobeyed, whatever the outward life may be. If there is no reverence for the authority of God, no supreme devotedness to God, and not equal love for our neighbours, the law is violated. This leads me to say again -- if the spirit of the law is violated, -- for the spirit of the law is the spirit of the gospel, and the spirit of the gospel is the spirit of the law -- and both are the spirit of heaven; both are the spirit of God, and both are found in heaven; therefore, whatsoever falls short of obeying the spirit of the law, also falls short of obedience to the gospel.

 

 


FROM THE PENNY PULPIT, SERMON 42 - ACCEPTABLE PRAYER. paragraph 33

The offering of this petition implies that the petitioner is really and truly willing to make sacrifices of any personal ease and comfort for the promotion of God's glory, so far as he un derstands that he ought. Who doubts that in heaven they are willing to be sent to any part of the universe, or to give tip personal case or anything else for the promotion of the great end for which God is aiming? We are informed in the Bible that "angels are ministering spirits sent forth to minister to them who are heirs of salvation." Any moment they may be called to self-denial and arduous labor. Doubtless they are often called, but do they hesitate, do they consider it a hardship? No; because they sympathize with God and with Christ in this great work. They do not hesitate to make any personal sacrifices that are demanded of them. They are perfectly cheerful and happy in it. Now, a person who would say, "Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven," must be willing to make any sacrifice that he knows is to be in accordance with the will of God. If it is plainly a matter of duty for him to do this or that, to go here or there, he must be perfectly willing to comply, or how can he offer this petition?

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 2 - Moral Government paragraph 56 Definition of the term law . . Distinction between physical and moral law . . The essential attributes of moral law . . Subjectivity . . Objectivity . . Liberty, as opposed to necessity . . Fitness . . Universality . . Impartiality . . Justice . . Practicability . . Independence . . Immutability . . Unity . . Equity . . Expediency . . Exclusiveness

     12. Equity is another attribute of moral law. Equity is equality. That only is equitable which is equal. The interest and well-being of every sentient existence, and especially of every moral agent, is of some value in comparison with the interests of others, and of the whole universe of creatures. Moral law demands that the interest and well-being of every member of the universal family shall be regarded by each according to its relative or comparative value, and that in no case shall it be sacrificed or wholly neglected, unless it be forfeited by crime. The distinction, allowed by human tribunals, between law and equity, does not pertain to moral law, nor does nor can it strictly pertain to any law. For it is impossible that that should be law, in the sense of imposing obligation, of which equity is not an attribute. An inequitable law cannot be. The requirements of law must be equal. A moral agent may, by transgression, forfeit the protection of law, and may come into such governmental relations, by trampling on the law, that moral law may demand that he be made a public example--that his interest and well-being be laid upon the altar, and that he be offered a sacrifice to public justice, as a preventive of crime in others. It may happen also that sacrifices may be demanded by moral law of innocent beings, for the promotion of a greater amount of good than that sacrificed by the innocent. Such was the case with the atonement of Christ, and such is the case with the missionary, and with all who are called by the law of love to practice self-denial for the good of others. But let it be remembered, that moral law never requires nor allows any degree of self-denial and self-sacrifice that relinquishes a good of greater value than that gained by the sacrifice. Nor does it in any case demand nor permit that any interest, not forfeited by its possessor, shall be relinquished or finally neglected, without adequate ultimate compensation. As has been said, every interest is of some comparative value; and ought to be so esteemed and treated. Moral law demands, and must demand, that it shall be so regarded by all moral agents to whom it is known. "THOU SHALT LOVE THY NEIGHBOUR AS THYSELF" is its unalterable language. It can absolutely utter no other language than this, and nothing can be moral law which holds any other language. Law is not, and cannot be, an arbitrary enactment of any being or number of beings. Unequal LAW is a misnomer. That which is unequal in its demands, is not and cannot be, law. Law must respect the interests and the rights of all, and of each member of the universal family. It is impossible that it should be otherwise, and still be law.

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 3 - Moral Government--Continued (Part II) paragraph 74 Definition of the term government . . Distinction between moral and physical government . . The fundamental reason of moral government . . Whose right it is to govern . . What is implied in the right to govern . . Point out the limits of this right . . What is implied in moral government . . Moral obligation . . The conditions of moral obligation . . Remarks

     8. It implies obligation, both on the part of the ruler and the ruled, to be always ready, and when occasion arises, actually to make any personal and private sacrifice demanded by the higher public good--to cheerfully meet any emergency, and exercise any degree of self-denial, that can, and will, result in a good of greater value to the public, than that sacrificed by the individual, or by any number of individuals, it always being understood, that present voluntary sacrifices shall have an ultimate reward.

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 7 - Foundation of Moral Obligation. False Theories. II paragraph 71 The theory that the goodness or moral excellence of God is the foundation of moral obligation

     Nothing can beget a higher sense of obligation to will the glory of the Father and the salvation of souls, than the example of Christ. His example is his loudest preaching, his clearest, most impressive, exhibition, not merely of his own goodness, but of the intrinsic and infinite value of the interest he sought and which we ought to seek. It is the love, the care, the self-denial, and the example of God, in his efforts to secure the great ends of benevolence, that hold those interests forth in the strongest light, and thus beget a sense of obligation to seek the same end. But let it be observed, it is not a contemplation of the goodness of God that awakens this sense of obligation, but the contemplation of the value of those interests which he seeks, in the light of his pains-taking and example; this quickens and gives efficiency to the sense of obligation to will what he wills. Suppose, for example, that I manifest the greatest concern and zeal for the salvation of souls, it would not be contemplation of my goodness that would quicken in a by-stander a sense of obligation to save souls, but my zeal, and life, and spirit, would have the strongest tendency to arouse in him a sense of the infinite and intrinsic value of the soul, and thus quicken a sense of obligation. Should I behold multitudes rushing to extinguish a flaming house, it would not be a contemplation of their goodness, but the contemplation of the interests at stake, to the consideration of which their zeal would lead me, that would quicken a sense of obligation in me to hasten to lend my aid.

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 22 - Attributes of Love--Continued (Part V) paragraph 7 Self-denial . . Condescension . . Candour . . Stability . . Kindness . . Severity

     21. Self-denial is another attribute of love.

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 22 - Attributes of Love--Continued (Part V) paragraph 10 Self-denial . . Condescension . . Candour . . Stability . . Kindness . . Severity

     As the interests of self are not at all regarded because they belong to self, but only according to their relative value, it must be certain, that self-denial for the sake of promoting the higher interests of God and of the universe, is and must be a peculiarity or attribute of love.

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 22 - Attributes of Love--Continued (Part V) paragraph 11 Self-denial . . Condescension . . Candour . . Stability . . Kindness . . Severity

     But again. The very idea of disinterested benevolence, and there is no other true benevolence, implies the abandonment of the spirit of self-seeking, or of selfishness. It is impossible to become benevolent, without ceasing to be selfish. In other words, perfect self-denial is implied in beginning to be benevolent. Self-indulgence ceases where benevolence begins. This must be. Benevolence is the consecration of our powers to the highest good of being in general as an end. This is utterly inconsistent with consecration to self-interest or self-gratification. Selfishness makes good to self the end of every choice. Benevolence makes good to being in general the end of every choice. Benevolence, then, implies complete self-denial. That is, it implies that nothing is chosen merely because it belongs to self, but only because of its relative value, and in proportion to it.

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 22 - Attributes of Love--Continued (Part V) paragraph 18 Self-denial . . Condescension . . Candour . . Stability . . Kindness . . Severity

     Benevolence is an honest and disinterested consecration of the whole being to the highest good of God and of the universe. The benevolent man will, therefore, and must, honestly weigh each interest as it is perceived in the balance of his own best judgment, and will always give the preference to the higher interest, provided he believes, that he can by endeavour, and by self-denial secure it.

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 22 - Attributes of Love--Continued (Part V) paragraph 19 Self-denial . . Condescension . . Candour . . Stability . . Kindness . . Severity

     That self-denial is an attribute of the divine love, is manifested most gloriously and affectingly in God's gift of his Son to die for men. This attribute was also most conspicuously manifested by Christ, in denying himself, and taking up his cross, and suffering for his enemies. Observe. It was not for friends that Christ gave himself. It was not unfortunate but innocent sufferers for whom God gave his Son, or for whom he gave himself. It was for enemies. It was not that he might make slaves of them that he gave his Son, nor from any selfish consideration whatever, but because he foresaw that, by making this sacrifice himself, he could secure to the universe a greater good than he should sacrifice. It was this attribute of benevolence that caused him to give his Son to suffer so much. It was disinterested benevolence alone that led him to deny himself, for the sake of a greater good to the universe. Now observe: this sacrifice would not have been made, unless it had been regarded by God as the less of two natural evils. That is, the sufferings of Christ, great and overwhelming as they were, were considered as an evil of less magnitude than the eternal sufferings of sinners. This induced him to make the sacrifice, although for his enemies. It mattered not whether for friends or for enemies, if so be he could, by making a less sacrifice, secure a greater good to them. When I come to consider the economy of benevolence, I may enlarge upon this topic.

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 22 - Attributes of Love--Continued (Part V) paragraph 20 Self-denial . . Condescension . . Candour . . Stability . . Kindness . . Severity

     Let it be understood, that a self-indulgent spirit is never, and can never be, consistent with benevolence. No form of self-indulgence, properly so called, can exist where true benevolence exists. The fact is, self-denial must be, and universally is, wherever benevolence reigns. Christ has expressly made whole-hearted self-denial a condition of discipleship; which is the same thing as to affirm, that it is an essential attribute of holiness or love; that there cannot be the beginning of true virtue without it.

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 22 - Attributes of Love--Continued (Part V) paragraph 21 Self-denial . . Condescension . . Candour . . Stability . . Kindness . . Severity

     Again: much that passes for self-denial is only a specious form of self-indulgence. The penances and self-mortifications, as they are falsely called, of the superstitious, what are they after all but a self-indulgent spirit? A popish priest abstains from marriage to obtain the honour, and emoluments, and the influence of the priestly office here, and eternal glory hereafter. A nun takes the veil, and a monk immures himself in a monastery; a hermit forsakes human society, and shuts himself up in a cave; a devotee makes a pilgrimage to Mecca, and a martyr goes to the stake. Now if these things are done with an ultimate reference to their own glory and happiness, although apparently instances of great self-denial, yet they are, in fact, only a spirit of self-indulgence and self-seeking. They are only following the strongest desire of good to self. They are obviously instances of choosing good to self, as the supreme and final end.

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 22 - Attributes of Love--Continued (Part V) paragraph 26 Self-denial . . Condescension . . Candour . . Stability . . Kindness . . Severity

     This attribute consists in a tendency to descend to the poor, the ignorant, or the vile, for the purpose of securing their good. It is a tendency to seek the good of those whom Providence has placed in any respect below us, by stooping, descending, coming down to them for this purpose. It is a peculiar form of self-denial. God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, manifest infinite condescension in efforts to secure the well-being of sinners, even the most vile and degraded. This attribute is called by Christ lowliness of heart. God is said to humble himself, that is, to condescend when he beholds the things that are done in heaven. This is true, for every creature is, and must for ever be, infinitely below Him in every respect. But how much greater must that condescension be, that comes down to earth, and even to the lowest and most degraded of earth's inhabitants, for purposes of benevolence. This is a lovely modification of benevolence. It seems to be entirely above the gross conceptions of infidelity. Condescension seems to be regarded by most people, and especially by infidels, as rather a weakness than a virtue. Sceptics clothe their imaginary God with attributes in many respects the opposite of true virtue. They think it entirely beneath the dignity of God to come down even to notice, and much more to interfere with, the concerns of men. But hear the word of the Lord: "Thus saith the High and Lofty One, who inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy: I dwell in the high and holy place; with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones." And again, "Thus saith the Lord, the heaven is my throne and the earth is my footstool, where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest? For all those things hath my hand made, and all those things have been, saith the Lord. But to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and that trembleth at my word." Thus the Bible represents God as clothed with condescension as with a cloak.

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 34 - Atonement. paragraph 95 I will call attention to several well established governmental principles . . Define the term atonement . . I am to inquire into the teachings of natural theology, or into the priori affirmations of reason upon this subject . . The fact of atonement . . The design of the atonement . . Christ's obedience to the moral law as a covenant of works, did not constitute the atonement . . The atonement was not a commercial transaction . . The atonement of Christ was intended as a satisfaction of public justice . . His taking human nature, and obeying unto death, under such circumstances, constituted a good reason for our being treated as righteous

     (vi.) An atonement was needed, and therefore doubtless designed, to contradict the slander of Satan. He had seduced our first parents by the insinuation that God was selfish, in prohibiting their eating the fruit of a certain tree. Now, the execution of the penalty of his law, would not so thoroughly refute this abominable slander, as would the great self-denial of God exhibited in the atonement.

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 34 - Atonement. paragraph 107 I will call attention to several well established governmental principles . . Define the term atonement . . I am to inquire into the teachings of natural theology, or into the priori affirmations of reason upon this subject . . The fact of atonement . . The design of the atonement . . Christ's obedience to the moral law as a covenant of works, did not constitute the atonement . . The atonement was not a commercial transaction . . The atonement of Christ was intended as a satisfaction of public justice . . His taking human nature, and obeying unto death, under such circumstances, constituted a good reason for our being treated as righteous

     (5.) Another reason for preferring the atonement to the punishment of sinners must have been, that sin had afforded an opportunity for the highest manifestation of virtue in God: the manifestation of forbearance, mercy, self-denial, and suffering for enemies that were within his own power, and for those from whom he could expect no equivalent in return.

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 35 - Extent of Atonement. paragraph 25 For whose benefit the atonement was intended . . Objections answered . . Remarks on the atonement

     Christ is God. In the atonement, God has given us the influence of his own example, has exhibited his own love, his own compassion, his own self-denial, his own patience, his own long-suffering, under abuse from enemies. In the atonement he has exhibited all the highest and most perfect forms of virtue, has united himself with human nature, has exhibited these forms of virtue to the inspection of our senses, and laboured, wept, suffered, bled, and died for man. This is not only the highest revelation of God that could be given to man; but is giving the whole weight of his own example in favour of all the virtues which he requires of man.

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 35 - Extent of Atonement. paragraph 76 For whose benefit the atonement was intended . . Objections answered . . Remarks on the atonement

     (1.) Yes, it would not only be unjust, but it is impossible with God to punish an innocent moral agent at all. Punishment implies guilt. An innocent being may suffer, but he cannot be punished. Christ voluntarily "suffered the just for the unjust." He had a right to exercise this self-denial; and as it was by his own voluntary consent, no injustice was done to any one.

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 44 - Regeneration--Continued (Part III) paragraph 62 Evidences of regeneration . . Introductory remarks . . Wherein the experience and outward life of saints and sinners may agree . . Remarks

     (35.) They may both practise many forms of self-denial. The Christian really denies himself, and the sinner may appear to do so, by denying certain forms of self-seeking, for the securing of a selfish interest in another direction.

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 45 - Regeneration--Continued (Part IV) paragraph 40 Wherein saints and sinners or deceived professors must differ

     (8.) The saint has made the will of God his law, and asks for no other reason to influence his decisions and actions than that such is the will of God. He has received the will of God as the unfailing index, pointing always to the path of duty. His intelligence affirms that God's will is, and ought to be, law, or perfect evidence of what law is; and therefore he has received it as such. He therefore expects to obey it always, and in all things. He makes no calculations to sin in anything; nor in one thing more than another. He does not cast about, and pick and choose among the commandments of God; professing obedience to those that are the least offensive to him, and trampling on those that call to a sterner morality, and a harder self-denial. With him there are no little sins in which he expects to indulge. He no more expects to eat too much, than he expects to be a drunkard; and gluttony is as much a sin as drunkenness. He no more expects to take an advantage of his neighbour, than he expects to rob him on the highway. He no more designs and expects to indulge in secret, than in open uncleanness. He no more expects to indulge a wanton eye, than to commit adultery with his brother's wife. He no more expects to exaggerate and give a false colouring to the truth, than he expects and intends to commit perjury. All sin is an abomination to him. He has renounced it ex animo. His heart has rejected sin as sin. His heart has embraced the will of God as his law. It has embraced the whole will of God. He waits only for a knowledge of what the will of God is. He needs not, he seeks not, excitement to determine or to strengthen his will. The law of his being has come to be the will of God. A "thus saith the Lord," immediately awakens from the depths of his soul the whole-hearted "amen." He does not go about to plead for sin, to trim his ways so as to serve two masters. To serve God and Mammon is no part of his policy, and no part of his wish. No: he is God's man, God's subject, God's child. All his sympathies are with God; and surely "his fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ." What Christ wills, he wills; what Christ rejects, he rejects.

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 45 - Regeneration--Continued (Part IV) paragraph 41 Wherein saints and sinners or deceived professors must differ

     (9.) But right over against this you will find the sinner, or deceived professor. God's will is not his law; but his own sensibility is his law. With him it is not enough to know the will of God; he must also have his sensibility excited in that direction, before he goes. He does not mean, nor expect, to avoid every form and degree of iniquity. His heart has not renounced sin as sin. It has not embraced the will of God from principle, and of course has not embraced the whole will of God. With him it is a small thing to commit what he calls little sins. This shows, conclusively, where he is. If the will of God were his law--as this is as really opposed to what he calls little, as to what he calls great sins, he would not expect and intend to disobey God in one thing more than in another. He could know no little sins, since they conflict with the will of God. But he goes about to pick and choose among the commandments of God, sometimes yielding an outward obedience to those that conflict least with his inclinations, and which therefore will cost him the least self-denial, but evading and disregarding those that lay the axe to the root of the tree, and prohibit all selfishness. The sinner, or deceived professor, does not in fact seriously mean, or expect, wholly to obey God. He thinks that this is common to all Christians. He as much expects to sin every day against God, as he expects to live, and does not think this at all inconsistent with his being a real, though imperfect, Christian. He is conscious of indulging in some sins, and that he has never repented of them and put them away, but he thinks that this also is common to all Christians, and therefore it does not slay his false hope. He would much sooner indulge in gluttony than in drunkenness, because the latter would more seriously affect his reputation. He would not hesitate to indulge wanton thoughts and imaginations when he would not allow himself in outward licentiousness, because of its bearing upon his character, and, as he says, upon the cause of God. He will not hesitate to take little advantages of his neighbour, to amass a fortune in this way, while he would recoil from robbing on the highway, or on the high seas; for this would injure his reputation with man, and, as he thinks, more surely destroy his soul. Sinners sometimes become exceedingly self-righteous, and aim at what they call perfection. But unless they are very ignorant, they soon become discouraged, and cry out, "O, wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" They, however, almost always satisfy themselves with a mere outward morality, and that, as I have said, not descending to what they call little sins.

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 46 - Regeneration--Continued (Part V) paragraph 8 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?

     The good of being is the end for which the saint really and truly lives. This is not merely held by him as a theory, as an opinion, as a theological or philosophical speculation. It is in his heart, and precisely for this reason he is a saint. He is a saint just because the theory, which is lodged in the head of both saint and sinner, has also a lodgement and a reigning power in his heart, and consequently in his life. The fact is, that saints, as such, have no longer a wicked heart. They are "born again," "born of God," and "they cannot sin, for his seed remaineth in them, so that they cannot sin, because they are born of God." "They have a new heart," "are new creatures," "old things are passed away, and behold all things are become new." They are holy or sanctified persons. The Bible representations of the new birth forbid us to suppose that the truly regenerate have still a wicked heart. The nature of regeneration also renders it certain that the regenerate heart cannot be a wicked heart. His heart or choice is fixed upon the highest good of God and the universe as an end. Moral agents are so constituted, that they necessarily regard truth and righteousness, as conditions of the highest good of moral agents. These being necessarily regarded by them as indispensable to the end, will, and must be considered as important, as the end to which they sustain the relation of indispensable conditions. As they supremely value the highest good of being, they will, and must take a deep interest in whatever is promotive of that end. Hence, their spirit is necessarily that of the reformer. To the universal reformation of the world they stand committed. To this end they are devoted. For this end they live, and move, and have their being. Every proposed reform interests them, and naturally leads them to examine its claims. The fact is, they are studying and devising ways and means to convert, sanctify, reform mankind. Being in this state of mind, they are predisposed to lay hold on whatever gives promise of good to man. A close examination will show a remarkable difference between saints and sinners in this respect. True saints love reform. It is their business, their profession, their life to promote it; consequently they are ready to examine the claims of any proposed reform; candid and self-denying, and ready to be convinced, however much self-denial it may call them to. They have actually rejected self-indulgence, as the end for which they live, and are ready to sacrifice any form of self-indulgence, for the sake of promoting the good of men and the glory of God. It is not, and cannot be natural to them to be prejudiced against reform, to be apt to array themselves against, or speak lightly of, any proposed reform, until they have thoroughly examined its claims, and found it wanting in the essential attributes of true reform. The natural bearing or bias of the saint's mind is in favour of whatever proposes to do good, and instead of ridiculing reform in general, or speaking lightly or censoriously of reform, the exact opposite is natural to him. It is natural to him to revere reformers, and to honour those who have introduced even what proved in the end not to be wholesome reforms, if so be there is evidence, that they were sincere and self-denying in their efforts to benefit mankind. The saint is truly and greatly desirous, and in earnest, to reform all sin out of the world, and just for this reason is ready to hail with joy, and to try whatever reform seems, from the best light he can get, to bid fair to put down sin, and the evils that are in the world. Even mistaken men, who are honestly endeavouring to reform mankind, and denying their appetites, as many have done in dietetic reform, are deserving of the respect of their fellow men. Suppose their philosophy to be incorrect, yet they have intended well. They have manifested a disposition to deny themselves, for the purpose of promoting the good of others. They have been honest and zealous in this. Now no true saint can feel or express contempt for such reformers, however much mistaken they may be. No; his natural sentiments and feelings will be, and must be, the reverse of contempt or censoriousness in respect to them. If their mistake has been injurious, he may mourn over the evil, but will not, cannot, severely judge the honest reformer. War, slavery, licentiousness, and all such like evils and abominations, are necessarily regarded by the saint as great and sore evils, and he longs for their complete and final overthrow. It is impossible that a truly benevolent mind should not thus regard these abominations of desolation. The cause of peace, the cause of anti-slavery, and that of the overthrow of licentiousness, must lie near the heart of every truly benevolent mind. I know that sinners often have a certain kind of interest in these and other reforms. This will be noticed and explained in the proper place. But whatever is true of sinners under certain circumstances, it must be always true of Christians, that they hail the cause of peace, of the abolition of slavery, and of the abolition of every form of sin, and of every evil, moral and physical, with joy, and cannot but give them a hearty God-speed. If they see that they are advocated on wrong principles, or with a bad spirit, or by bad men, and that injurious measures are used to promote them, the saints will mourn, will be faithful in trying to find out and to proclaim a more excellent way. Do but keep in mind the fact, that saints are truly benevolent, and are really and heartily consecrated to the highest good of being, and then it will surely be seen, that these things must be true of real saints.

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 47 - Regeneration--Continued (Part VI) paragraph 10 Wherein saints and sinners differ

     (16.) The true saint denies himself. Self-denial must be his characteristic, just for the reason that regeneration implies this. Regeneration, as we have seen, consists in turning away the heart or will from the supreme choice of self-gratification, to a choice of the highest well-being of God and of the universe. This is denying self. This is abandoning self-indulgence, and pursuing or committing the will, and the whole being to an opposite end. This is the dethroning of self, and the enthroning of God in the heart. Self-denial does not consist, as some seem to imagine, in acts of outward austerity, in an ascetic and penance-doing course of starvation, and mere legal and outward retrenchment, in wearing plain clothes and using plain language, or in wearing a coat with one button, and in similar acts of "will worship and voluntary humility, and neglecting the body;" but self-denial consists in the actual and total renunciation of selfishness in the heart. It consists in ceasing wholly to live for self, and can be exercised just as truly upon a throne, surrounded with the paraphernalia of royalty, as in a cottage of logs, or as in rags, and in caves and dens of the earth. The king upon his throne may live and reign to please himself. He may surround himself with all that can minister to his pleasure, his ambition, his pride, his lusts, and his power. He may live to and for himself. Self-pleasing, self-gratification, self-aggrandizement, may be the end for which he lives. This is selfishness. But he may also live and reign for God, and for his people. He may be just as really self-denying on his throne, and surrounded by the trappings of state and of royalty, as any person in any other station of life. That is, he may be as really devoted to God, and render this as a service to God, as well as anything else. No doubt his temptation is great: but, nevertheless, he may be perfectly self-denying in all this. He may not do what he does for his own sake, nor be what he is, nor possess what he possesses for his own sake, but, accommodating his state and equipage to his relations, he may be as truly self-denying as others in the humbler walks of life. This is not an impossible, though, in all probability, a rare case. A man may as truly be rich for God as poor for him, if his relations and circumstances make it essential to his highest usefulness that he should possess a large capital. He is in the way of great temptation; but if this is plainly his duty, and submitted to for God and the world, he may have grace to be entirely self-denying in these circumstances, and all the more commendable, for standing fast under these circumstances. So a poor man may be poor from principle, or from necessity. He may be submissive and happy in his poverty. He may deny himself even the comforts of life, and do all this to promote the good of being, or he may do it to promote his own interest, temporal or eternal, to secure a reputation for piety, to appease a morbid conscience, to appease his fears, or to secure the favour of God. In all things he may be selfish. He may be happy in this, because it may be real self-denial; or he may be murmuring at his poverty, may complain, and be envious at others who are not poor. He may be censorious, and think everybody proud and selfish who dresses better, or possesses a better house or equipage than he does. He may set up his views as a standard, and denounce as proud and selfish all who do not square their lives by his rule. This is selfishness, and these manifestations demonstrate the fact. A man may forego the use of a coat, or a cloak, or a horse, or a carriage, or any and every comfort and convenience of life. And all this may proceed from either a benevolent or a selfish state of mind. If it be benevolence and true self-denial, it will be cheerfully and happily submitted to, without murmuring and repining, without censoriousness, and without envy towards others, without insisting that others shall do and be, just what and as he is. He will allow the judge his ermine, the king his robes of state, and the merchant his capital, and the husbandman his fields and his flocks, and will see the reasonableness and propriety of all this.

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 47 - Regeneration--Continued (Part VI) paragraph 11 Wherein saints and sinners differ

     But if it be selfishness and the spirit of self-gratification instead of self-denial, he will be ascetic, caustic, sour, ill-natured, unhappy, severe, censorious, envious, and disposed to complain of, and pick at the extravagance and self-indulgence of others.

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 47 - Regeneration--Continued (Part VI) paragraph 12 Wherein saints and sinners differ

     The true saint, in whatever relation of life, is truly self-denying. Whether on a throne, or on the dunghill, he neither lives, nor moves, nor breathes, nor eats, nor drinks, nor has his being for himself. Self is dethroned. God is enthroned in his heart. He lives to please God, and not to please himself. And whether he wears the crown and the purple, the ermine of the judge, or the gown of the counsellor, whether he cultivates the field or occupies the pulpit, whether he is engaged in merchandize, or whether he opens the ditch or plies a handicraft, whether in affluence or poverty, it matters not how circumstanced or how employed, as certainly as he is a true saint, just so certainly does he not live to or for himself. Of this he is as conscious as he is of living at all. He may be mistaken by others, and selfish ones may suppose him to be actuated by selfishness as they are; but in this they are deceived. The true saint will be sure to be found self-denying, when observed by the spirit of love, and judged by the law of love. Love would readily perceive, that those things which a censorious and selfish spirit ascribe to selfishness are to be accounted for in another way; that they are really consistent with, and indeed instances of self-denial. The spirit of self-pleasing and of accommodating ourselves to our circumstances and relations for benevolent reasons, may by a candid mind be generally readily distinguished from each other. The selfish will naturally confound them and stumble at them, simply because they have only the experience of selfishness, and judge others by themselves. A truly self-denying mind will naturally also judge others by itself, in such a sense as to take it for granted, that others are self-denying, unless the manifest indications strongly urge to an opposite opinion.

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 47 - Regeneration--Continued (Part VI) paragraph 13 Wherein saints and sinners differ

     A man of truth is not wont to suspect others of lying, without strong evidence of the fact, and then, although he may be sure that he tells a falsehood, the man of truth is ready rather to ascribe the falsehood to mistake, than to call it a lie. So the truly benevolent man is not wont to suspect others of selfishness without strong evidence. Nor will the truly self-denying man readily suspect his brother of selfishness, even in things that, prima facie, have that appearance. He will rather naturally infer, that his health, or circumstances, or something consistent with self-denial accounts for what he does.

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 47 - Regeneration--Continued (Part VI) paragraph 15 Wherein saints and sinners differ

     (17.) The sinner does not deny himself. He may not gratify all his desires, because the desires are often contradictory, and he must deny one for the sake of indulging another. Avarice may be so strong as to forbid his indulging in extravagance in eating, drinking, dressing, or equipage. His love of reputation may be so strong as to prevent his engaging in anything disgraceful, and so on. But self-indulgence is his law notwithstanding. The fear of hell, or his desire to be saved, may forbid his outward indulgence in any known sin. But still he lives, and moves, and has his being only for the sake of indulging himself. He may be a miser, and starve and freeze himself, and deny himself the necessaries of life, yet self-indulgence is his law. One propensity may lord it over and starve the rest; but it is only self-indulgence after all. The nun may take the veil; the monk may retire to the cloister; the miser take his rags; the harlot seek the brothel; the debauchee his indulgences; the king his throne; the priest his desk; all for the same ultimate reason, to wit, to gratify self, to indulge each one his reigning lust. But in every possible case every sinner, whatever may be his station, his habits or pursuits, is self-indulgent, and only self-indulgent, and that continually. Some lusts he may and must control, as they may be inconsistent with others. But others he knows, and it will be seen that he does not control. He is a slave. He bows down to his lusts and serves them. He is enslaved by his propensities, so that he cannot overcome them. This demonstrates that he is a sinner and unregenerate, whatever his station and profession may be. One who cannot, because he will not, conquer himself and his lusts; this is the definition of an unregenerate sinner. He is one over whom some form of desire, or lust, or appetite, or passion has dominion. He cannot, or rather will not, overcome it. This one is just as certainly in sin, as that sin is sin. Do you hear that professor of religion? He says he knows that he ought to give up such a lust or habit, but he cannot give it up. Why, in thus saying, he gives higher evidence of being an unregenerate sinner or a loathsome backslider, than if he should take his oath of it. O that it were known and constantly borne in mind, what regeneration is! How many thousands of deceived professors would it undeceive! A self-indulgent regenerate soul is a perfect contradiction, as much so as to speak of a disinterestedly benevolent selfishness, or of a self-indulgent self-denial, or an unregenerate regeneration, a sinful holiness, or a holy sinfulness. These things are eternal and necessary opposites. They never do nor can, by any possibility, be reconciled, or dwell together in the same heart. With the sinner or selfish professor, self-denial is a theory, an opinion, an article of faith. But he knows if he will but admit the conviction, that he does not live for God; that he does not eat and drink, and dress, and sleep, and wake, and do whatever he does--for God. He knows he ought to do so, and hopes he does in some measure, but he knows all the while that the preponderance of his life is self-indulgent. When this is so, nothing but infatuation can cause him to cling to his delusion.

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 59 - Sanctification (Part 3) paragraph 21 Entire sanctification is attainable in this life

     (6.) If it is known that the promisor has exercised the greatest self-denial, and made the greatest sacrifice for the promisee, in order to render it proper or possible for him to make and fulfil his promises, in relation to relieving his necessities, the state of mind implied in this conduct should be fully recognized in interpreting the language of the promise. It would be utterly unreasonable and absurd, in such a case, to restrict and pare down the language of his promise, so as to make it fall entirely short of what might reasonably be expected of the promisor, from those developements of his character, feelings, and designs, which were made by the great self-denial he has exercised, and the sacrifices he has made.

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 77 - Purposes of God paragraph 207

     (1.) That the highest good of the universe of moral agents is conditionated upon the revelation of the attributes and character of God to them; that but for sin these attributes, at least some of them, could never have been revealed, inasmuch as without sin there would have been no occasion for their display or manifestation; that neither justice nor mercy, nor forbearance, nor self-denial, nor meekness, could have found the occasions of their exercise or manifestation, had sin never existed.

 

 


GOSPEL THEMES, SERMON 1 - God's Love for a Sinning World paragraph 12

It would have been a very short method to have turned over His hand upon the wicked of our race, and sent them all down quick to hell, as once He did when certain angels "kept not their first estate." Rebellion broke out in heaven. Not long did God bear it, around His lofty throne. But in the case of man He changed His course -- did not send them all to hell, but devised a vast scheme of measures, involving most amazing self-denials and self-sacrifices, to gain men's souls back to obedience and heaven.

 

 


GOSPEL THEMES, SERMON 1 - God's Love for a Sinning World paragraph 24

6. The sacrifice was a most self-denying one. Did it cost the Father nothing to give up His own beloved Son to suffer, and to die such a death? If this be not self-denial, what can be? Thus to give up His Son to so much suffering -- is not this the noblest self-denial? The universe never could have the idea of great self-denial but for such an exemplification.

 

 


GOSPEL THEMES, SERMON 1 - God's Love for a Sinning World paragraph 56

The whole effort on the part of God for man is one of suffering and self-denial. Beginning with the sacrifice of His own beloved Son, it is carried on with ever renewed sacrifices and toilsome labours -- at great and wonderful expense. Just think how long a time these efforts have been protracted already -- how many tears, poured out like water, it has cost -- how much pain in many forms this enterprise has caused and cost -- yea, that very sin which you roll as a sweet morsel under your tongue! God may well hate it when He sees how much it costs, and say -- O do not that abominable thing that I hate!

 

 


GOSPEL THEMES, SERMON 1 - God's Love for a Sinning World paragraph 57

Yet God is not unhappy in these self-denials. So great is His joy in the results, that He deems all the suffering but comparatively a trifle, even as earthly parents enjoy the efforts they make to bless their children. See them; they will almost work their very hands off; mothers sit up at night to ply their needle till they reel with fatigue and blindness; but if you were to see their toil, you would often see also their joy, so intensely do they love their children.

 

 


GOSPEL THEMES, SERMON 1 - God's Love for a Sinning World paragraph 58

Such is the labour, the joy, and the self-denial of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost, in their great work for human salvation. Often are they grieved that so many will refuse to be saved. Toiling on in a common sympathy, there is nothing, within reasonable limits, which they will not do or suffer to accomplish their great work. It is wonderful to think how all creation sympathizes, too, in this work and its necessary sufferings. Go back to the scene of Christ's sufferings. Could the sun in the heavens look down unmoved on such a scene? O no, he could not even behold it -- but veiled his face from the sight! All nature seemed to put on her robes of deepest mourning. The scene was too much for even inanimate nature to bear. The sun turned his back and could not look down on such a spectacle!

 

 


GOSPEL THEMES, SERMON 1 - God's Love for a Sinning World paragraph 60

Martyrs and saints enjoy their sufferings -- filling up in themselves what is lacking of the sufferings of Christ; not in the atonement proper, but in the subordinate parts of the work to be done. It is the nature of true religion to love self-denial.

 

 


GOSPEL THEMES, SERMON 8 - The Wicked Heart Set to do Evil paragraph 12

So everywhere, to yield to the demands of appetite and passion against God's claims, is grievous sin. All men are bound to fear and obey God, however much self-denial and sacrifice it may cost.

 

 


GOSPEL THEMES, SERMON 10 - Conditions of Being Saved paragraph 22

The fact is, there are things for you to do which God can not do for you. Those things which He has enjoined and revealed as the conditions of your salvation, He cannot and will not do Himself. If He could have done them Himself, He would not have asked you to do them. Every sinner ought to consider this. God requires of you repentance and faith because it is naturally impossible that any one else but you should do them. They are your own personal matters -- the voluntary exercises of your own mind; and no other being in heaven, earth, or hell, can do these things for you in your stead. As far as substitution was naturally possible, God has introduced it, as in the case of the atonement. He has never hesitated to march up to meet and to bear all the self-denials which the work of salvation has involved.

 

 


GOSPEL THEMES, SERMON 10 - Conditions of Being Saved paragraph 28

8. Don't seek for any self-indulgent method of salvation. The great effort among sinners has always been to be saved in some way of self-indulgence. They are slow to admit that self-denial is indispensable -- that total, unqualified self-denial is the condition of being saved. I warn you against supposing that you can be saved in some easy, self-pleasing way. Men ought to know, and always assume, that it is naturally indispensable for selfishness to be utterly put away and its demands resisted and put down.

 

 


GOSPEL THEMES, SERMON 10 - Conditions of Being Saved paragraph 82

It has often struck my mind with great force, that many professors of religion are deplorably and utterly mistaken on this point. Their real feeling is that Christ's service is an iron collar -- an insufferably hard yoke. Hence, they labour exceedingly to throw off some of this burden. They try to make it out that Christ does not require much, if any, self-denial -- much, if any, deviation from the course of worldliness and sin. O, if they could only get the standard of Christian duty quite down to a level with the fashions and customs of this world! How much easier then to live a Christian life and wear Christ's yoke!

 

 


GOSPEL THEMES, SERMON 10 - Conditions of Being Saved paragraph 89

7. You must forsake all that you have, or you cannot be Christ's disciple. There must be absolute and total self-denial.

 

 


GOSPEL THEMES, SERMON 12 - On the Atonement paragraph 60

Some of you may think it a great thing to go on a foreign mission. But Jesus has led the way. He left heaven on a foreign mission; came down to this more than heathen world, and no one ever faced such self-denial. Yet He fearlessly marched up without the least hesitation to meet the consequences. Never did He shrink from disgrace, from humiliation, or torture. And can you shrink from following the footsteps of such a leader? Is anything too much for you to suffer, while you follow in the lead of such a Captain of your salvation?

 

 


GOSPEL THEMES, SERMON 15 - Quenching the Spirit paragraph 49

All these results sometimes accrue from neglect of plainly revealed duty. Men shrink from known duty through fear of the opinions of others, or through dislike of some self-denial. In this crisis of trial the Spirit does not leave them in a state of doubt or inattention as to duty, but keeps the truth and the claims of God vividly before the mind. Then if men go on and commit the sin despite of the Spirit's warnings, the soul is left in awful darkness -- the light of the Spirit of God is quenched perhaps forever.

 

 


GOSPEL THEMES, SERMON 19 - Prayer and Labor For the Gathering of the Great Harvest paragraph 56

It is painful to see that many are committing themselves in some way or other against the work. They are putting themselves in a position which of itself forbids their engaging in it. But do let me ask you, young men, can you expect ever to be saved if, when you have the power and the means to engage in this work, you have no heart for it? No, indeed! You knock in vain at the gate of the blessed! You may go there and knock, but what will be the answer? Are ye my faithful servants? Were ye among the few, faithful among the faithless -- quick and ready at your Master's call? O no, no; you studied how you could shun the labor and shirk the self-denial! I know you not! Your portion lies without the city walls!

 

 


GOSPEL THEMES, SERMON 19 - Prayer and Labor For the Gathering of the Great Harvest paragraph 59

8. You can see what it is to be a Christian, and what God demands of men at conversion. The turning point is -- Will you really and honestly serve God? With students especially the question is wont to be -- Will you abandon all your ambitious schemes and devote yourself to the humble, unambitious toil of preaching Christ's Gospel to the poor? Most of this class are ambitious and aspiring; they have schemes of self-elevation, which it were a trial to renounce altogether. Hence with you, your being a Christian and being saved at last will turn much, perhaps altogether, on your giving yourself up to this work in the true self-denial of the Gospel spirit.

 

 


WAY OF SALVATION, SERMON 5 - Men Invited To Reason Together With God paragraph 45

Remind him, also, of your dependence on him, and that you set out in the Christian life with the understanding that without his grace to help, you could do nothing. Tell him you have consecrated yourself to him in distinct reliance upon his promised aid, and that you cannot endure to fall so far short of what you had hoped, and what you have promised and expected. Tell him of your willingness to make any sacrifice; that there is nothing you are unwilling to give up; that you are willing to forego your good name, and to lay your reputation wholly upon his altar; that there is not one sacrifice you are not willing to make; and you beg of him, if he sees a single thing held so dear to your heart that you are not willing to sacrifice it for his sake, to show you what it is, and press you to forsake it. Assure him that if self-denial comes in his service you are willing to meet all the consequences. You are ready to confess his grace to you, and not conceal it from the great congregation. Can you say this? If so, do it. Tell him you are ready to die to the world -- ready to give it all up and renounce it utterly and for ever. You are determined you will have no more fellowship with the works of darkness -- to have the world become dead to you and you to the world. You are ready to meet all and bear all that the service of Christ may impose and involve. No matter if the world disowns you, and casts you out from its regard and fellowship. You have counted the cost and are ready to meet it all.

 

 


WAY OF SALVATION, SERMON 9 - Any One Form of Sin Persisted In is Fatal to the Soul paragraph 79

How are we to understand the great mass of professors? How are we to understand the great body of religious teachers, if they do not leave the impression, after all, on the churches, that they can be accepted of God while their habitual obedience is only very partial; while, in fact, they pick and choose among the commandments of God, professing to obey some, while they allow themselves in known disobedience of others. Now, if in this respect the church has not a false standard; if the mass of religious instruction is not making a false impression on the churches and on the world in this respect, I am mistaken. I am sorry to be obliged to entertain this opinion, and to express it; but what else can I think? How else can the state of the churches be accounted for? How else is it that ministers hope that the great mass of their churches are in a safe state? How else is it that the great mass of professors of religion can have any hope of eternal life in them, if this is not the principle practically adopted by them, that they are justified while only rendering habitually but a very partial obedience to God; that they are really forgiven and justified while they only pick and choose among the commandments, obeying those which it costs them little to obey, and are not disagreeable and not unpopular; while they do not hesitate habitually to disobey where obedience would subject them to any inconvenience, require self-denial, or expose them to any persecution?

 

 


WAY OF SALVATION, SERMON 19 - On Self Denial paragraph 7

The question will arise in many minds, Why does Christ demand of us self-denial?

 

 


WAY OF SALVATION, SERMON 19 - On Self Denial paragraph 18

It is curious to see how the sensibility is related to self-denial, so that denying ourselves from right motives becomes the natural and necessary means of developing our spiritual affections. Beginning with taking up the cross, one goes on, from step to step, ruling down self-indulgences and self-gratification, and opening his heart more and more to fellowship with God and to the riper experience of his love.

 

 


WAY OF SALVATION, SERMON 19 - On Self Denial paragraph 20

Another reason is that we can well afford it, for we are surely the gainers by it. I admit that when we resist and deny the demands of self-indulgence, it goes a short way, and on a small scale, against happiness; but on the spiritual side we gain immensely, and immensely more than we lose. The satisfaction which arises from real self-denial is precious. It is rich in quality and deep and broad as the ocean in amount.

 

 


WAY OF SALVATION, SERMON 19 - On Self Denial paragraph 21

Many think that if they would find pleasure they must seek it directly and make it their direct object, seeking it moreover in the gratification of their appetites. They seem to know no other form of happiness but this. It would seem that they never have conceived the idea that the only way to enjoy themselves really is to deny self, fully up to the demands of right, reason, and of God's revealed will. Yet this is the most essential law of real happiness. Where shunning the cross begins, true religion ends. You may pray in your family, you may sternly rebuke sin wherever it is disagreeable to yourself, and do all this without Christian self-denial; but while living in habits of self-indulgence, you cannot stand up for Christ and do your duty everywhere manfully, and especially you will be all weakness when the path of duty leads you where your feelings will be wounded. And no man can expect to escape such emergencies always. If, then, you would maintain the path of duty without swerving, and enjoy real life and blessedness, you must determine to deny yourself wherever God and reason demand it, and fully up to the extent of those demands. So will you gain more than you can lose. If you are firm and determined, your path will be easy and joyous.

 

 


WAY OF SALVATION, SERMON 19 - On Self Denial paragraph 36

8. To those of you who, being yet in your sins, cannot conceive how you can ever enjoy God, and cannot even imagine how your heart can cleave to God, and call Him a thousand endearing names, and pour out your heart in love to Jesus, let me beg of you to consider that there is such communion with God -- there is such joy of his presence, and you may have it at the price of self-denial and whole-hearted devotion to Jesus; not otherwise. And why should you not make this choice? Already you are saying, Every cup of worldly pleasure is blasted -- dried up and worthless. Then let them go. Bid them away, and make the better choice of pleasures that are purer far, and better, and which endure forever.

 

 


WAY OF SALVATION, SERMON 20 - On Following Christ paragraph 40

What is such a belief good for? Often has this question been forced on my mind in Boston, What is this belief that all men will be saved good for? People plead this belief as their excuse for not following Christ. They say, "No need to trouble ourselves with following Christ, since we shall all come right at last anyhow." Can this belief make men holy and happy? Some of you will answer, "It makes me happy for the present, and that is the most I care for." But does it make you holy? Does it beget true Christian self-denial and real benevolence? A faith and a practice which make you happy without being holy are but a poor thing. Indeed, it cannot fail of being utterly mischievous, because it lures and pleases without the least advance towards saving your soul. It only leaves you the more a slave of sin and Satan.

 

 


FINNEY ON THEOLOGY, LECTURE 11 - THE MORAL ATTRIBUTES OF GOD (CONTINUED part 2). paragraph 15 Veracity -- Disinterestedness -- Forbearance -- Long--suffering -- Self-denial -- Impartiality -- Beneficence -- Sovereignty.

7. SELF-DENIAL. Self-denial is that quality of benevolence that disposes us to deny ourselves some good for the sake of promoting a higher good of others; to forego some enjoyment or volunteer some suffering of our own as a means or condition of warding off the sufferings of others, and securing to them a greater good. It is manifest that this must be an attribute of disinterested benevolence. Disinterested benevolence is the willing of the good of being for its own sake; consequently it implies the laying the greatest stress upon the greatest good. It does not will good to self because it belongs to self, but the good of being for the sake of being in general. The highest practicable good is that which benevolence seeks; consequently it lays the greatest stress upon the greatest good. From its own nature, therefore, it will forego a less good to self for the sake of a greater good to others. It will volunteer to suffer a less evil for the sake of warding off a greater evil from others. It seeks to secure the highest good that can be secured to whomsoever it may belong.

 

 


FINNEY ON THEOLOGY, LECTURE 11 - THE MORAL ATTRIBUTES OF GOD (CONTINUED part 2). paragraph 16 Veracity -- Disinterestedness -- Forbearance -- Long--suffering -- Self-denial -- Impartiality -- Beneficence -- Sovereignty.

Self-denial, therefore, for the good of others, when a greater good can thereby be obtained, is necessarily a quality of disinterested benevolence. This attribute of God is greatly manifested in this world. It was this attribute which was peculiarly manifested in the atonement of Christ. "God was manifest in the flesh;" gave his Son a voluntary substitute to suffer and die for guilty men. This was no doubt the most illustrious exhibition of self-denial ever seen in this world, and perhaps in the universe. Self-denial by no means implies selfishness, but always the reverse. True self-denial is the opposite of self-indulgence. It should be remarked that true self-denial is not inconsistent with the highest happiness of God or any other being. It is an attribute of benevolence; and if a benevolent being volunteers to prevent the greater suffering of another, or forego any particular form of good to self for the sake of promoting the higher good of others, this is by no means to deprive himself of any real ultimate good.

 

 


FINNEY ON THEOLOGY, LECTURE 11 - THE MORAL ATTRIBUTES OF GOD (CONTINUED part 2). paragraph 17 Veracity -- Disinterestedness -- Forbearance -- Long--suffering -- Self-denial -- Impartiality -- Beneficence -- Sovereignty.

Nay, such self-denial as this really affords greater enjoyment than the refusal, under circumstances where it is demanded, could possibly yield. Nay, true self-denial is the only condition of enjoyment in a moral agent where it is demanded by the great law of benevolence. In the exercises of self-denial, if it be true and genuine, we are necessarily satisfied with ourselves. This is the condition of our highest personal enjoyment. Our enjoyment is not that at which we aim; for this would be no self-denial. The aim is to promote the good of others by means of denying ourselves. Benevolence is really sincere in making the sacrifice with a single eye for the sake of the end, that is, the greater good of others. Their good is the end; we give up a certain good of our own, or volunteer a certain suffering of our own, with the simple disinterested intent to promote their good. Now it is just because we are thus disinterested in this self-denial, because the self-denial is real, intelligent, and genuine, that it produces satisfaction; and thus by reaction upon ourselves gives us even more satisfaction than is obtained by those for whom we deny ourselves. Thus it is that in the atonement of Christ, although the sacrifice on the part of God was real and great, nevertheless it must have been a source of infinite satisfaction to him; and hence it is said of Christ, that "for the joy that was set before him he endured the cross, despising the shame." He also declared that it was more blessed to give than to receive. The self-denial of God, then, must be a condition of his happiness, as it is the condition of his self-respect, the condition of his being infinitely and perfectly good.

 

 


FINNEY ON THEOLOGY, LECTURE 11 - THE MORAL ATTRIBUTES OF GOD (CONTINUED part 2). paragraph 18 Veracity -- Disinterestedness -- Forbearance -- Long--suffering -- Self-denial -- Impartiality -- Beneficence -- Sovereignty.

But, let it be remembered, that self-denial in him, as in all other beings, is unselfish, as I have said. It was his love to the world, to sinners themselves, that led him to give his only begotten Son to redeem them. Christ laid down his life for our sakes; with the intention to bless us. From unselfish regard to us, he "endured the cross and despised the shame." Nevertheless, with the knowledge that it would promote his own happiness just in proportion as with a single eye he aimed to promote our happiness; just in proportion as he sought not his own interest, he secured it; just in proportion as he denied himself, he secured that at which he did not aim, to wit, his own highest honor and eternal satisfaction.

 

 


FINNEY ON THEOLOGY, LECTURE 11 - THE MORAL ATTRIBUTES OF GOD (CONTINUED part 2). paragraph 19 Veracity -- Disinterestedness -- Forbearance -- Long--suffering -- Self-denial -- Impartiality -- Beneficence -- Sovereignty.

But how do we know that self-denial is an attribute of the divine benevolence? Suppose a skeptic who denies the atonement should ask how we know that God will deny himself. Skeptics often evince their great ignorance by the low and even blasphemous thoughts they entertain of God. They will often represent God as being infinitely too high to notice creatures so small as we are. They think it ridiculous to suppose that God would give his Son to die for such a race as that of man. They think it infinitely below his dignity to deny himself for our sakes. But this shows their vast ignorance, and how little they have thought of what is implied in the infinite goodness of God. It was not beneath the infinite dignity and divine greatness to create us, surely it is not beneath his dignity and greatness to care for us. Indeed, in this is his true greatness most strikingly manifested, that he cares and expresses his regard not only for the greater, but for the least of all his creatures. He stoops to number even the hairs of our heads; and not a sparrow can fall to the ground without his notice and commiseration. Who, after all, could call him supremely and infinitely good if he were unwilling to take pains to secure the eternal well-being of creatures whom he had made? Who could after all say that he met their whole ideal of moral perfection in its infinite extent, if he would refuse to volunteer even a suffering, and a great suffering, to save even his guilty and inexcusable enemies from eternal suffering? Who could say that their whole ideal of moral perfection was met by a being who would not stoop to the capacities, and miseries, and sufferings, and circumstances of every creature of his hand, to do them good? And especially where this self-denial must so commend itself to his own nature as really to conduce to his happiness at last, and ultimately to deprive him of no good; or in other words, where from the very nature of God and of self-denial, the exercise of self-denial would be really a source of blessedness to him? Indeed, this is the true idea of moral goodness, it finds its own blessedness in doing good.

 

 


FINNEY ON THEOLOGY, LECTURE 11 - THE MORAL ATTRIBUTES OF GOD (CONTINUED part 2). paragraph 20 Veracity -- Disinterestedness -- Forbearance -- Long--suffering -- Self-denial -- Impartiality -- Beneficence -- Sovereignty.

To real perfect goodness, personal suffering to relieve others is a luxury. Self-denial for the promotion of the greater good of others is essential to securing the great end upon which the will has fastened; it is the only possible means of meeting our ideal of what we ought to be, and of securing that upon which our heart is set. Our very conception, then, of infinite goodness, is that self-denial must be an attribute of it. Such is our necessary conception of unselfish benevolence that this quality must belong to it; it must be disposed to forego a less good to self for the sake of the higher good of others. And this, I say again, is true economy; for the higher good in this case is in fact obtained, and obtained too without any ultimate loss to the individual sufferer, or the one who denies himself. From the very laws of his being, his sufferings and his self-denial will react and be a luxury to himself.