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REVIVAL LECTURES - LECTURE V. - THE PRAYER OF FAITH. paragraph 32 Faith an indispensable condition of prevailing prayer - What it is we are to believe when we pray - When we are bound to exercise this faith - This kind of faith in prayer always obtains the blessing sought - How we are to come into the state of mind in which we can exercise such faith - Objections answered.

I heard of a case where a young convert was the means of teaching a minister a solemn truth on the subject of prayer. She was from a very wicked family, but went to live at a minister's house. While there she was hopefully converted. One day she went to the minister's study while he was there--a thing she was not in the habit of doing; and he thought there must be something the matter with her. So he asked her to sit down, and kindly inquired into the state of her religious feelings. She then told him that she was distressed at the manner in which the older Church members prayed for the Spirit. They would pray for the Holy Spirit to come, and would seem to be very much in earnest, and plead the promises of God, and then say: "O Lord, if it be Thy will, grant us these blessings for Christ's sake." She thought that saying "If it be Thy will," when God had expressly promised it was questioning whether God was sincere in His promises. The minister tried to reason her out of it, and he succeeded in confounding her. But she was distressed and filled with grief, and said: "I cannot argue the point with you, sir, but it is impressed on my mind that it is wrong, and dishonoring to God." And she went away, weeping with anguish. The minister saw she was not satisfied, and it led him to look at the matter again; and finally he saw that it was putting in an if where God had put none, but where He had revealed His will expressly; and he saw that it was an insult to God. Thereupon he went and told his people they were bound to believe that God was in earnest when He made them a promise. And the spirit of prayer came down upon that Church, and a most powerful revival followed.

 

 


REVIVAL LECTURES - LECTURE V. - THE PRAYER OF FAITH. paragraph 35 Faith an indispensable condition of prevailing prayer - What it is we are to believe when we pray - When we are bound to exercise this faith - This kind of faith in prayer always obtains the blessing sought - How we are to come into the state of mind in which we can exercise such faith - Objections answered.

There are general promises and principles laid down in the Bible which Christians might make use of, if they would only think. Whenever you are in circumstances to which the promises or principles apply, there you are to use them. A parent finds this promise: "The mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear Him, and His righteousness unto children's children; to such as keep His covenant, and to those that remember His commandments to do them" (Psalm 103:17, 18). Now, here is a promise made to those who possess a certain character. If any parent is conscious that this is his character, he has a rightful ground to apply it to himself and his family. If you are this character, you are bound to make use of this promise in prayer, and believe it, even to your children's children.

 

 


REVIVAL LECTURES - LECTURE V. - THE PRAYER OF FAITH. paragraph 36 Faith an indispensable condition of prevailing prayer - What it is we are to believe when we pray - When we are bound to exercise this faith - This kind of faith in prayer always obtains the blessing sought - How we are to come into the state of mind in which we can exercise such faith - Objections answered.

I could go from one end of the Bible to the other, and produce an astonishing variety of texts that are applicable as promises; enough to prove, that in whatever circumstances a child of God may be placed, God has provided in the Bible some promise, either general or particular, which he can apply, that is precisely suited to his case. Many of God's promises are very broad, on purpose to cover much ground. What can be broader than the promise in our text: "What things so ever ye desire when ye pray"? What praying Christian is there who has not been surprised at the length and breadth and fullness, of the promises of God, when the Spirit has applied them to his heart? Who that lives a life of prayer has not wondered at his own blindness, in not having before seen and felt the extent of meaning and richness of those promises, when viewed under the light of the Spirit of God? At such times he has been astonished at his own ignorance, and found the Spirit applying the promises and declarations of the Bible in a sense in which he had never before dreamed of their being applicable.

 

 


REVIVAL LECTURES - LECTURE V. - THE PRAYER OF FAITH. paragraph 63 Faith an indispensable condition of prevailing prayer - What it is we are to believe when we pray - When we are bound to exercise this faith - This kind of faith in prayer always obtains the blessing sought - How we are to come into the state of mind in which we can exercise such faith - Objections answered.

A curious case occurred in one of the towns in the western part of the State of New York. There was a revival there. A certain clergyman came to visit the place, and heard a great deal said about the Prayer of Faith. He was staggered at what they said, for he had never regarded the subject in the light in which they did. He inquired about it of the minister that was laboring there. The minister requested him, in a kind spirit, to go home and take his Testament, look out the passages that refer to prayer, and go round to his most praying people and ask them how they understood these passages. He did so, going to his praying men and women, reading the passages, without note or comment, and asking what they thought. He found that their plain common sense had led them to understand these passages and to believe that they meant just what they say. This affected him; then, the fact of his presenting the promises before their minds awakened the spirit of prayer in them, and a revival followed.

 

 


REVIVAL LECTURES - LECTURE V. - THE PRAYER OF FAITH. paragraph 81 Faith an indispensable condition of prevailing prayer - What it is we are to believe when we pray - When we are bound to exercise this faith - This kind of faith in prayer always obtains the blessing sought - How we are to come into the state of mind in which we can exercise such faith - Objections answered.

3. You say: "This leaves the Church under a great load of guilt." True, it does so; and no doubt multitudes will stand up before God, covered all over with the blood of souls that have been lost through their want of faith. The promises of God, accumulated in their Bibles, will stare them in the face, and weigh them down to hell.

 

 


REVIVAL LECTURES - LECTURE VI. - THE SPIRIT OF PRAYER. paragraph 20 What Spirit is spoken of in the passage: "The Spirit also helpeth our infirmities" - What that Spirit does for us - Why He does what the text declares Him to do - How He accomplishes it - The degrees of His influences - How His influences are to be distinguished from the influences of evil spirits - Who have a right to expect His influences.

Mankind are vastly ignorant both of the promises and prophecies of the Bible, and blind to the providence of God. And they are still more in the dark about those points of which God has said nothing but through the leadings of His Spirit. I have named these four sources of evidence on which to ground faith in prayer--promises, prophecies, providences, and the Holy Spirit. When all other means fail of leading us to the knowledge of what we ought to pray for, the Spirit does it.

 

 


REVIVAL LECTURES - LECTURE VI. - THE SPIRIT OF PRAYER. paragraph 27 What Spirit is spoken of in the passage: "The Spirit also helpeth our infirmities" - What that Spirit does for us - Why He does what the text declares Him to do - How He accomplishes it - The degrees of His influences - How His influences are to be distinguished from the influences of evil spirits - Who have a right to expect His influences.

3. He leads Christians to understand and apply the promises of Scripture.

 

 


REVIVAL LECTURES - LECTURE VI. - THE SPIRIT OF PRAYER. paragraph 28 What Spirit is spoken of in the passage: "The Spirit also helpeth our infirmities" - What that Spirit does for us - Why He does what the text declares Him to do - How He accomplishes it - The degrees of His influences - How His influences are to be distinguished from the influences of evil spirits - Who have a right to expect His influences.

It is wonderful that in no age have Christians been able fully to apply the promises of Scripture to the events of life, as they go along. This is not because the promises themselves are obscure. But there has always been a wonderful disposition to overlook the Scriptures, as a source of light respecting the passing events of life. How astonished the apostles were at Christ's application of so many prophecies to Himself! They seemed to be continually ready to exclaim: "Astonishing! Can it be so? We never understood it before!" Who, that has witnessed the manner in which the apostles, influenced and inspired by the Holy Ghost, applied passages of the Old Testament to Gospel times, has not been amazed at the richness of meaning which they found in the Scriptures? So it has been with many a Christian; while deeply engaged in prayer he has seen that passages of Scripture are appropriate which he never thought of before as having any such application.

 

 


TO PROFESSING CHRISTIANS 1837, LECTURE III - Selfishness not True Religion paragraph 13

     2. The proposition is not that we ought to have no regard to the promises and threatenings of God, as affecting ourselves. It is plainly right to regard the promises of God and threatenings of evil, as affecting ourselves, according to the relative value of our own interests. But who does not see that a threatening against us is not so important as a threatening against a large number of individuals. Suppose a threatening of evil against yourself as an individual. This is plainly not so important as if it included your family. Then suppose it extend to the whole congregation, or to the state, or the whole nation, or the world. Here, it is easy to see, that the happiness of an individual, although great, ought not to be regarded as supreme.

 

 


TO PROFESSING CHRISTIANS 1837, LECTURE V - Justification by Faith paragraph 71

     The correctness of this definition has been doubted by some; and I confess my own mind has undergone a change on this point. It is said that Abraham believed God, and it was imputed to him for righteousness. But what did Abraham believe? He believed that he should have a son. Was this all? By no means. But his faith included the great blessing that depended on that event, that the Messiah, the Savior of the world, should spring from him. This was the great subject of the Abrahamic covenant, and it depended on his having a son. Of course, Abraham's faith included the "Desire of all nations," and was faith in Christ. The apostle Paul has showed this, at full length, in the 3d chapter of Galatians, that the sum of the covenant was, "In thee shall all nations be blessed." In verse 16, he says, "Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ."

 

 


TO PROFESSING CHRISTIANS 1837, LECTURE V - Justification by Faith paragraph 88

     III. Those of you who have evidence that you are justified, should maintain your relation to God, and live up to your real privileges. This is immensely important. There is no virtue in being distrustful and unbelieving. It is important to your growth in grace. One reason why many Christians do not grow in grace is, that they are afraid to claim the privileges of God's children which belong to them. Rely upon it, beloved, this is no virtuous humility, but criminal unbelief. If you have the evidence that you are justified, take the occasion from it to press forward to holiness of heart, and come to God with all the boldness that an angel would, and know how near you are to Him. It is your duty to do so. Why should you hold back? Why are you afraid to recognize the covenant of grace, in its full extent? Here are the provisions of your Father's house, all ready and free; and are you converted and justified, and restored to His favor, and yet afraid to sit down at your Father's table? Do not plead that you are so unworthy. This is nothing but self-righteousness and unbelief. True, you are so unworthy. But if you are justified, that is no longer a bar. It is now your duty to take hold of the promises as belonging to you. Take any promise you can find in the Bible, that is applicable, and go with it to your Father, and plead it before Him, believing. Do you think He will deny it? These exceeding great and precious promises were given you for this very purpose, that you may become a partaker of the divine nature. Why then should you doubt? Come along, beloved, come along up to the privileges that belong to you, and take hold of the love, and peace, and joy, offered to you in this holy gospel.

 

 


TO PROFESSING CHRISTIANS 1837, LECTURE VIII - Christian Perfection I paragraph 43

     2. All the promises and prophecies of God, that respect the sanctification of believers in this world, are to be understood of course, of their perfect sanctification.

 

 


TO PROFESSING CHRISTIANS 1837, LECTURE VIII - Christian Perfection I paragraph 44

     What is sanctification, but holiness? When a prophecy speaks of the sanctification of the church, are we to understand that it is to be sanctified only partially? When God requires holiness, are we to understand that of partial holiness? Surely not. By what principle, then, will you understand it of partial holiness when He promises holiness. We have been so long in the way of understanding the scriptures with reference to the existing state of things, that we lose sight of the real meaning. But if we look only at the language of the Bible, I defy any man to prove that the promises and prophecies of holiness mean anything short of perfect sanctification, unless the requirements of both the law and gospel are to be understood of partial obedience which is absurd.

 

 


TO PROFESSING CHRISTIANS 1837, LECTURE VIII - Christian Perfection I paragraph 97

     6. The promises are not understood, and not appropriated by faith.

 

 


TO PROFESSING CHRISTIANS 1837, LECTURE IX - Christian Perfection II paragraph 35

     The fact is, Christians do not really believe much that is in the Bible. Now, suppose you were to meet God, and you knew it was God himself, speaking to you, and He should reach out a book in His hand, and tell you to take that book, and that the book contains exceeding great and precious promises, of all that you need, or ever can need, to resist temptation, to overcome sin, and to make you perfectly holy, and fit you for heaven; and then He tells you that whenever you are in want of anything for this end, you need only take the appropriate promise, and present it to Him at any time, and He will do it. Now, if you were to receive such a book, directly from the hand of God, and knew that God had written it for you, with His own hand, would you not believe it? And would you not read it a great deal more than you now read the Bible? How eager you would be to know all that was in it? And how ready to apply the promises in time of need! You would want to get it all by heart, and often repeat it all through, that you might keep your mind familiar with its contents, and be always ready to apply the promises you read! Now, the truth is, the Bible is that book. It is written just so, and filled with just such promises; so that the Christian, by laying hold of the right promise, and pleading it, can always find all that he needs for his spiritual benefit.

 

 


TO PROFESSING CHRISTIANS 1837, LECTURE IX - Christian Perfection II paragraph 36

     Christ is a complete Savior. All the promises of God are in him Yea, and in him Amen, to the glory of God the Father. That is, God has promised in the second person of the Trinity, in the person of Jesus Christ, and made them all certain through Him. Now, the thing which is needed is, that Christians should understand these promises, and believe them, and in every circumstance of need apply them, for sanctification. Suppose they lack wisdom. Let them go to God, and plead the promise. Suppose they cannot understand the scriptures, or the path of duty is not plain. The promise is plain enough, take that. Whatever they lack of wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption, only let them go to God in faith, and take hold of the promise, and if He does not prove false, they will assuredly receive all that they need.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1839 paragraph 593 577 Lecture IX. Dominion Over Sin ...

Now although I am for making the promises mean all they say, yet I do not believe that such language as this can be justly interpreted to mean all that such persons contend for; (e.g.) if a man should be once intoxicated, under circumstances of peculiar temptation, it would be neither fair, nor true, in speaking of his general character, to say that he was under the dominion of the ardent spirits, and a slave to his appetite.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1839 paragraph 650 634 Lecture X. Carefulness A Sin ...

5. Because it is highly injurious to yourself. I beseech you to reflect upon your past history. Have you not found, in multitudes of instances, that this kind of carefulness was a real obstruction to your worldly business? And have you not found that the more you indulged this state of mind, the more embarrassed and perplexed your secular affairs became? And no wonder, for in this state you are in some sense a maniac, and not qualified to manage business of any kind. How many persons there are, who, instead of keeping calm, and preserving a state of mind, in which they can act with discretion and wisdom, will become so filled with carefulness as to incapacitate themselves for superintending their affairs with discretion; and they wonder, that, after all their attention, and carefulness, and anxiety they do not succeed any better. They seem to think that the providence of God is wholly adverse, and is designed to perplex them, while in reality nothing uncommon has happened in the providence of God; and their foolish and wicked carefulness is that to which they may ascribe their failure.

It is just so in matters of religion. Multitudes suffer themselves, in the peevishness of their unbelief, to be so distracted and confounded with carefulness about their spiritual state, or the spiritual state of those around them, that they are forever whining, complaining, and murmuring, as if it were the most difficult matter in the world to persuade God to be good, and kind, and gracious. They seem to act as if it were as difficult a matter to get hold of the grace of God, as to be saved by the law. And not withstanding all the declarations in regard to the freeness of gospel salvation, it would seem as if they supposed the wells of salvation were infinitely deep, and their waters infinitely beyond their reach; and the promises of eternal life were infinitely high above their heads. Indeed, they are in that state of mind, that from its own nature excludes the grace of the gospel, and sets aside all the promises of God. Now let me ask, did you ever find that this kind of carefulness has resulted in any thing else than evil to your own souls? Why then indulge in it? Persons in this state are very apt to think their circumstances, and condition deserve commiseration. They look around for sympathy, and pity; and often secretly blame God for not pitying them, when they have so carefully sought him. Now this is a state of horrible rebellion against God. Here is an ocean of the waters of eternal life, flowing at your feet--here is a table spread before you with infinite provisions for your souls, and as free as the heart of God, and yet you stand and distress yourself, and complain, and are filled with vast cares, and anxieties, lest you should lose your soul--starving, thirsting, dying with these provisions and waters of eternal life before you. Precious soul, lay aside your carefulness, I beseech you, and believe, or you must perish.

6. Because your carefulness is a great stumbling block and injury to those around you. Are they professors of religion--they are emboldened to exercise this same temper because they see it in you. Are they impenitent sinners--they wonder what religion is good for. They see you fretted with the same cares and anxieties that others are who have no hope in Christ. What inference can they draw from witnessing your state, only that religion is a name that has no consolation or salvation in it.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1839 paragraph 669 634 Lecture X. Carefulness A Sin ...

5. What advantage it gives Satan. It is just cutting yourself loose from your moorings upon the promises of God, and giving yourself up to the merciless buffetings of the prince of hell.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1839 paragraph 679 677 Lecture XI. & XII The Promises- No.'s 1 - 5 ...

by Charles Grandison Finney
President of Oberlin College

I. I shall preface what I have to say upon this subject with several preliminary remarks, with regard to the promises of the Scripture.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1839 paragraph 687 677 Lecture XI. & XII The Promises- No.'s 1 - 5 ...

I. I am to make several preliminary remarks upon the nature of the promises.

1. The promises made to the church under the old dispensation belong emphatically to the Christian Church. Thus the promise made to Abraham was designed more for his posterity, and for the Christian Church than for himself. That part of the promise which related to the temporal possession of Canaan never was fulfilled to him. He lived and died "a stranger and sojourner in the land of promise." In Heb. 11:13 we are expressly informed that Abraham did not receive the fulfillment of the promises, but that they belonged especially to Christians under the New Testament dispensation. "These all died in faith not having received the promises--but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth," i.e. Abraham and the patriarchs died without receiving the fulfillment of the promises. Again, verses 39-40, --"And these all, having obtained a good report, through faith, received not the promises; God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect." So the New Covenant in Jer. 31:31-34: Behold the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah; Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers, in the day that I took them by the hand, to bring them out of the land of Egypt; (which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the Lord;) but this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts, and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more, every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord; for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, saith the Lord, for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more. Also, Jer. 32:39-40: --"And I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear me forever for the good of them, and of their children after them; and I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them to do them good; but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me."

Also, Ezek. 36:25-27: --"Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean; from all your filthiness, and from all your idols will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you; and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them."

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1839 paragraph 688 677 Lecture XI. & XII The Promises- No.'s 1 - 5 ...

And numerous other kindred promises, made to the church under the Old Testament Dispensation, belong particularly to the Church under the Christian Dispensation. Consequently the Apostle in Heb. 8:8-12 maintains that the covenant in Jer. 31:31-32 respects particularly the Gospel Dispensation. --"Behold the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts, and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: And they shall not teach every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more."

2. The promises made to the Church as a body, belong to individuals of the Church. The Church is composed of individuals, and the promises are of no avail, any further than there is an individual application of them.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1839 paragraph 689 677 Lecture XI. & XII The Promises- No.'s 1 - 5 ...

3. Promises made to the Patriarchs, and Individuals, under the Old Testament Dispensation, as well as under the new, belong to all individuals, in every age and land, under similar circumstances. Thus we find the inspired writers recognizing the principle, every where, in their writings, in the use they make of the promises. As an illustration, see Heb. 13:5 -- "I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee." If you turn to Gen. 28:15, you will see that the promise which the Apostle applies to all Christians, was originally made to Jacob, on his way to Padanaram. "And behold I am with thee, and will keep thee, in all places, whither thou goest, and I will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, till I have done that which I have spoken to thee of." So in Heb. 13:6 -- the Apostle continues, "The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me." This also is quoted from Ps. 56:4, 11, --"In God I have put my trust; I will not fear what man can do unto me."

Let these serve as specimens of the manner in which inspired writers make an application of the promises. In the experience of every Christian, it is manifest that the Spirit of God makes the same application of the promises to their minds. And thus the promises are a kind of common property to the saints. Who has not been edified, and refreshed in reading the biographies of highly spiritual men; by observing the copious use of the promises which the Spirit of God makes in refreshing the souls of the saints.

4. The promises made to Israel and Judah, in the Old Testament, are promises made to the whole Christian Church, both Jews and Gentiles. Thus the Church of Christ is called the "Israel of God." And the Apostle expressly affirms that "they are not all Israel which are of Israel." But this fact is abundantly confirmed, that the true Israel of the Scriptures, is the true Church of God, in every age--to whom, collectively and individually, all the promises of the Bible belong.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1839 paragraph 690 677 Lecture XI. & XII The Promises- No.'s 1 - 5 ...

5. The promises mean all they say; in other words, they are to be interpreted by the same rules by which we interpret the commandments. e.g. the promise in Deut. 30:6, --"And the Lord thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live," is to be interpreted by the same rule by which we interpret the commandment, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul." So the promises in Ezek. 36:25-26 --"Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you; and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh," is to be understood as implying just as much as the commands in Ezek. 18:30-31 --"Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions, so iniquity shall not be your ruin. Cast away from you all your transgressions, and make you a new heart, and a new spirit." So also the promise, "I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them," is to be construed as meaning just as much as the commands, "walk in my statutes," and "keep my commandments" mean.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1839 paragraph 692 677 Lecture XI. & XII The Promises- No.'s 1 - 5 ...

7. The promises are held out to all who will believe them.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1839 paragraph 694 677 Lecture XI. & XII The Promises- No.'s 1 - 5 ...

9. The promises cannot be believed, unless they are known to exist. This is self evident.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1839 paragraph 699 677 Lecture XI. & XII The Promises- No.'s 1 - 5 ...

14. There are promises suited to all possible states of mind.

Upon these last thoughts I shall have occasion to enlarge under another head.

15. Some of the promises are without any condition, expressed or implied. The fulfillment of these does not depend, in any degree, upon our own agency.

The covenant made with Noah is an example of this kind. "While the earth remaineth, seed time and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease."

16. There is, however, almost always some condition, at least, implied in every promise--a condition which though not expressed, arises out of the nature of the case; e.g. should I promise to pay a sum of money, for value received--here, although no condition is expressed, yet it is plain that the individual must consent to receive it. So if a testator leave a legacy to an heir, the terms of the bequest may be absolute, and without condition, yet it is always implied, that the heir believe that a bequest was made, and take the necessary steps to enter into the possession. So with the promises of God. Many of them appear to be absolute, because there is no expressed condition. But a condition is implied, viz. that we believe the promise, and are willing to receive the proffered blessing.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1839 paragraph 700 677 Lecture XI. & XII The Promises- No.'s 1 - 5 ...

17. Multitudes of the promises of God are made upon expressed conditions. Thus the promises in Ezek. 36:25-27 --"Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you; and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them," seem to be expressed in full, without any condition. Yet in the 37th verse this condition is expressed --"I will yet be inquired of by the house of Israel to do it for them, saith the Lord." So in James 1:5 you find this promise --"If any of you lack wisdom let him ask of God who giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not, and it shall be given him." It seems to be expressed without condition; but in the sixth verse the condition is expressly annexed --"But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering," and we are informed that without faith it shall not be fulfilled.

In Matt. 7:7 you have another illustration of the same principle -- "Ask and it shall be given you; seek and ye shall find; knock and it shall be opened unto you." Here asking (of course in faith) is made the condition of receiving.

18. I have already said that many of the promises are made to particular states of mind, and applicable only to persons in that state, e.g.
 

(1) There are promises made to the impenitent sinner. Isa. 55:7 -- "Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts, and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon." Now the conditions of these promises are that the sinner "forsake his way" and "return unto the Lord." Without the fulfillment of this condition, the sinner can never receive the benefit of the promise. In Isa. 1:18 there is a promise to the sinner -- "Come now and let us reason together, saith the Lord. Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow, though they be red like crimson, they shall be like wool." And in the 19th verse the condition is expressed, "if ye be willing and obedient."

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1839 paragraph 727 677 Lecture XI. & XII The Promises- No.'s 1 - 5 ...

(5) The promises have no tendency to change our constitution--to destroy our personal identity--and make our spiritual existence identical with that of God.

I do understand our being made partakers of the divine nature, to mean,

2. That we are to be made partakers of the moral nature, or attributes and perfections of God. By this I mean, that the moral perfections of God cause the like moral perfections in us--so that the same exercises, in kind, that are in the divine mind, are, by the Spirit, through the promises, begotten in our minds. In other words, that the exhibition of the moral character, nature and attributes of God, as exhibited by the Spirit, transforms us into the same image. Thus the Apostle expresses it, in 2 Cor. 3:18 --"We all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord." The Bible everywhere abounds with declarations and representations to this effect. It represents us as participating deeply, in his exercises, both of holiness and of happiness. I will quote a few of the many passages that might be given to sustain this position.
 

(1) We are called partakers of his holiness--Heb. 12:10 --"For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his HOLINESS."

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1839 paragraph 733 677 Lecture XI. & XII The Promises- No.'s 1 - 5 ...

(7) We are made partakers of His happiness. Ps. 36:7,8 --"How excellent is thy loving-kindness, 0 God. Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings. They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of thy house; and thou shalt make them drink of the river of thy PLEASURES." Ps. 16:11 --"Thou wilt show me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy: at thy right hand there are PLEASURES FOREVERMORE."

Let these serve as specimens of the scripture representations on this subject. By a careful examination of the Bible, it will be found that every feature of the moral nature and character of God is begotten in the Christian, by the provisions of the gospel.

3. A state of entire sanctification is also included in the idea of being made partakers of the divine nature. The principal proof of this, I shall examine when I come to show, under the next head, that the promises are adequate to that for which they are designed. But here I would suggest the following considerations, in support of the position, that entire sanctification is included in being made partakers of the divine nature.
 

(1) If the saints are ever sanctified, it is plain that it must be done through the influence of the promises, including the whole revealed will of God. That the truth, and especially the truth contained in the promises, is the Spirit's grand and indispensable instrument for the saint's sanctification, no reader of the Bible can deny.

 

 


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(6) I recently saw a letter which had a remark to this effect, "that she [the writer] had seen so much of the depravity of her nature, that she believed she could not be wholly sanctified, except by the sickle of death." Perhaps the form of expression here is somewhat singular; but the idea is a common one. Many believe that death is to complete the work of sanctification. It has been a common remark, that one great reason why we should be willing to die, is, that by death we shall get rid of sin. Now I would ask, do any of the inspired writers ever urge this as a reason for being willing to die--that by death, or at death, we shall be rid of sin? "Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord," says John; "Yea, saith the Spirit, for they shall rest from their labors, and their works do follow them." Now it is manifest, that that from which they rest follows them. Does John here mean to say that men rest from their sins, and that their sins follow them?

I cannot but think, that one reason, and the prime reason for thinking that death only can terminate our sins, is that the bodily appetites are supposed to be in themselves sinful; and that every excitement of men's constitutional propensities is in itself a sin. This opinion would naturally lead to the conclusion that the destruction of the body, and the annihilation of the bodily appetites alone, could free us from sin. I do not suppose that we have any promise in the gospel, or any means that can make a physical or constitutional change in soul or body. And those who believe that the change required is a constitutional one, would naturally conclude, that death, and not the promises is the means of our sanctification.

 

 


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III. I am to show that the promises are adequate to the effect ascribed to them.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1839 paragraph 741 677 Lecture XI. & XII The Promises- No.'s 1 - 5 ...

In order to show distinctly the difference between the two covenants, I will lay before you the scripture declarations of the peculiarities of each. By thus contrasting them step by step, you will be able to see whether the promises are adequate to the perfecting of the saints.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1839 paragraph 750 677 Lecture XI. & XII The Promises- No.'s 1 - 5 ...

It has been objected by some, that the promises in the Old Testament were made to Jews, and applied only to the Jews. I answer, it is plain, that these promises respected the whole Church under the New Covenant dispensation, and that the New Covenant included the Gentile nations. The Christian Church is the Israel of God, as I have shown in a former lecture.


 

 

 


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14. The Old Covenant made nothing perfect. Heb. 7:19: "For the LAW MADE NOTHING PERFECT, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God." Heb. 9:9: "Which WAS a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices that COULD NOT make him that did the service PERFECT, as pertaining to the conscience." Heb. 10:11: "And every priest standeth daily ministering, and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which CAN NEVER TAKE AWAY SINS." It is abundantly taught in this epistle that Abraham, and the other Old Testament saints did not receive the promises; i.e. they did [not] receive the fulfillment of the promises. The promises were made to them, or rather through them, to the Christian Church. But it is expressly said that they did not receive the fulfillment of the promises. Of the long list of saints mentioned in chapter 11 of this epistle, it is said, verse 13, "These all died in faith, NOT HAVING RECEIVED THE PROMISES." And in verses 39, 40, it is said: "And these all having obtained a good report through faith RECEIVED NOT THE PROMISE: God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect."

The New Covenant is perfection itself. Lest this should be doubted, it may be well to inquire what we understand by Christian Perfection. Has God any where required perfection in the Bible? If so, where? Does his law require perfection? If not, what part of the Bible does? And if his law does not require perfection, why does it not? Is it not manifestly an imperfect law? And how can it be said that the "law is HOLY, JUST and GOOD"?

 

 


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17. The Old Covenant had only a shadow of the Gospel. Heb. 10:1: "For the law having a SHADOW of good things to come and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually, make the comers thereunto perfect." The New is the inwrought effect of the gospel. Let it be understood that the New Testament is not the Gospel itself; but is that which is to be effected by the Gospel. The New Testament and the Gospel are by no means to be confounded the one with the other. The New Testament or Covenant is that work in the heart which is wrought by the Holy Ghost, by the instrumentality of the Gospel. Most professors of religion, in speaking of the New Testament, mean by it the book containing the Gospels, the Acts of the Apostles, the Epistles and the Apocalypse. Now these are not the New Testament; for the New Testament and Covenant, you understand, are the same thing. These books are the Gospel. And, as I have said, the Gospel is only the means by which God makes the New Covenant with the soul, or by which he inclines the soul to close in with, and obey the Old Covenant. Now the whole object of God in the Gospel is not to abrogate the Old Covenant, but to bring men into obedience to it; i.e. to be perfectly conformed to the law of love. The Gospel is as distinct from the New Covenant as the means are distinct from the end. And for an individual to suppose he has received the New Covenant because he has the Gospel in his hands, or because he lives under the Gospel dispensation, is a dangerous and fatal error. A man may live under the Gospel, may understand and believe many of its truths, and yet the Gospel may never have been so fully received by him, as effectually and permanently to have written the Old Covenant or law in his heart.

It has been said that regeneration is all that is included in the promise of the New Covenant, and that every real Christian has received this New Covenant. Now if this be so, in what sense did not Abraham and the Old Testament saints receive the promises and their fulfillment? Were they not regenerated? See Heb. 11:13: "These all died in faith, NOT HAVING RECEIVED THE PROMISES." Also verses 39, 40: "And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, RECEIVED NOT THE PROMISE: God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect." Now here many of the most distinguished saints under the Old Testament dispensation are mentioned by name, and it is expressly said of every one of them, that they "died in faith," but "had not received the promises." It is not meant that they had not heard the promises, for to them the promises were given. It must therefore mean, that they did not receive their fulfillment. But who will doubt that they were regenerated? Now I cannot resist the conviction that to suppose regeneration to be the receiving of the New Covenant or New Testament, in the sense in which it is promised in the passages [I have] so often quoted, is a great and dangerous error. It appears to me that the Bible abundantly teaches that these promises are made to believers and not to unbelievers--that they are made to the Church, and not to the world, and that it is after we believe that we are to be sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise. Eph. 1:13: "In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also AFTER THAT YE BELIEVED, YE WERE SEALED WITH THAT HOLY SPIRIT OF PROMISE." I have been ready sometimes to ask, can it be possible that those who maintain that the promise in Jeremiah means nothing more than regeneration, have thoroughly considered what they say and whereof they affirm?

18. The condition of the Old Covenant was perfect obedience to law. I have so often quoted the passages to prove this, that I need not here repeat them. The condition of the New Covenant is faith in Christ. Gal. 3:14: "That the blessing of Abraham, might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit THROUGH FAITH." Now it is naturally impossible that the New Covenant should be received, or the Old written in the heart upon any other condition than faith. Without confidence or faith there can be no love; and there cannot be genuine faith that does not produce love.

These are only a few of the exceeding great and precious promises of which the Apostle speaks in the text. Every student of the Bible knows that I might extend this examination indefinitely, and write a volume as large as the Bible itself, should I quote all the promises, and remark upon them only to a limited extent. Some of them I have quoted over and over again for the purpose of showing their particular bearing upon the different propositions I have laid down. Those which I have quoted are only specimens of the promises, and designed only as illustrations of the truth that the promises are sufficient to accomplish the great work of making us partakers of the divine nature. The Lord willing, I design ere long to take up a more direct examination of the question whether entire sanctification is attainable in this life, and enter more into detail than would be proper in these discourses on the promises. In my next, I design to present some reasons why the promises are not fulfilled in, and to us.

In the mean time, I wish to call your attention to what I regard as a settled truth, viz: that the doctrine of sanctification is so spiritual a subject that no mind will understand it that is not in a truly and highly spiritual state. No man ever understood discourses on regeneration, and especially on the evidences of regeneration, and the exercises of a regenerated heart, who had not himself been regenerated. Nor will a man understand any course of reasoning on the subject of sanctification, who has not experience on that subject. By this I do not mean, that he may not have sufficient intellectual perception to understand some things about it. But I do mean that he will not understand the fullness with which the Bible teaches that doctrine until his spiritual perceptions are made clear and penetrating; e.g. no man ever believed that Jesus was the Christ who was not born of God. It is expressly asserted in the Bible that "whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ, is born of God" and that "no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost." Now it is not intended in this passage that a man may not settle the abstract question to some extent, as a matter of science and evidence respecting the divinity of Christ. But it is intended that none but a spiritual mind can have any knowledge of Christ as God. And to me it seems plain that the more spiritual any truth is, the more certainly it will be misunderstood by any but a spiritual mind; for the natural man discerneth not the things of the Spirit of God, neither can he know them because they are spiritually discerned. The utmost that I expect to do by any thing that I can say, and by any scriptures that can be quoted, with minds not in a truly spiritual state, is so far to convince their understanding as to convict their heart of being wrong, and thus to bring them to search after the true light.
 
 

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1839 paragraph 775 677 Lecture XI. & XII The Promises- No.'s 1 - 5 ...

In some of my last lectures, I examined a few of the promises, with the design of showing that they are sufficiently full and explicit to cover the whole ground of our necessities; and that they afford us abundant means of entire conformity to the divine nature or image--that we have only to realize in our own experience the fullness of the promised blessing, and to believe and receive all that is actually promised, in order to know by our own blessed experience, what it is to be made partakers of the divine nature. I might extend this examination of the promises to almost any length, as every attentive reader of the Bible knows. I have only quoted such specimens of the different classes of promises, as seem to me to afford a fair illustration of the extent and fullness of the salvation promised in the Gospel.

 

 


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IV. Some of the reasons why the promises are not fulfilled in and to us.

1. They are overlooked in a great measure by the Church. They seem as a body not to know that there are any such promises as these in the Bible. Now as the fulfillment of a promise must depend upon our knowing, understanding, and believing it, there is a very obvious reason why to multitudes the promises are never fulfilled.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1839 paragraph 778 677 Lecture XI. & XII The Promises- No.'s 1 - 5 ...

2. Many who know that such promises are in the Bible, do not at all understand their application. I was amazed, not long since, to hear a minister contend, that the promise of the New Covenant, which I have so often quoted, was made to the Jews--that inasmuch as Israel and Judah are mentioned, we had no right to apply the promise to any but the Jews. He seemed entirely to overlook the fact that these promises were made to the Israel of God, and more especially to the Christian Church than to the Jewish Church. Now it is perfectly manifest that where such ignorance as this prevails (and it does very extensively prevail in the Christian Church) that there is a natural reason why the promises are not fulfilled--are not pleaded, believed, and applied by the Church to their own case. Therefore they are as ineffectual to them as the Gospel provisions are to sinners who starve to death with the Gospel feast before them.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1839 paragraph 779 677 Lecture XI. & XII The Promises- No.'s 1 - 5 ...

3. Another reason why they are not fulfilled to many is, they will not believe the promises mean all they say. They reason thus: as a matter of fact, say they, the Christian Church is not wholly sanctified and never has been--that very few, if any, believers in Christ have ever been wholly sanctified in this life. Therefore, as a matter of fact, either they do not mean to promise entire sanctification, or God has not kept his word. They therefore suffer themselves to fritter away the meaning of the promises. Now if the objection that the promise cannot mean entire sanctification, because, as a matter of fact, entire sanctification has not taken place in the Church, be good for anything, it must amount to this--that nothing more is promised in the New Covenant than the Church have actually realized. For the whole force of the objection lies in this, that if God has not fulfilled all that he promised, then he has forfeited His word. Therefore, the New Covenant does not mean entire sanctification; but these promises of the New Covenant, and all the promises which I have quoted, mean nothing more than the Church has actually realized. Now if this objection amounts to anything, it is this--that nothing more is promised than has been fulfilled--that the Gospel has done for the Church all that it can do in this world--and that every Christian has actually been at every moment just as holy as there was any provision for him to be. Now the first absurdity involved in this objection is that it would make the promises mean more or less to different individuals, just according to the measure of grace which each one has had. For according to the objection, if the promise has not been fulfilled, then God has broken his word. And if one Christian has had more holiness than another, it must be because God has promised more to one than to another. For in this objection, let it be remembered, it is contended that he has fulfilled all His promises.

A second absurdity is, it assumes that these promises are without any condition, or that the condition has been complied with by every Christian. For certainly it would not be assumed that God had violated his promises, if he intended to promise entire sanctification, unless it were assumed either that they are without condition, expressed or implied, or that the condition had been complied with. But these promises are all made on conditions, either expressed or implied. They are to be recognized, and pleaded, and believed. The conditions are often expressed along with the promises; and when not expressed, are always implied. The conditions are not arbitrary, but there is a natural necessity that they should be understood, and believed, and a personal application made of them, as the indispensable means of getting that state of mind that constitutes the divine image or nature in man.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1839 paragraph 780 677 Lecture XI. & XII The Promises- No.'s 1 - 5 ...

It is indeed a shorthand method of frittering away the promises of God, to overlook the conditions upon which they are made, and contend that they can mean no more than has been actually realized by the Church, because on any other supposition, God has not performed his word. Now the reason, and a sufficient reason, why entire sanctification has not been realized by the Church, is that she has not believed and applied these promises according to their real import.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1839 paragraph 781 677 Lecture XI. & XII The Promises- No.'s 1 - 5 ...

I don't know how to leave this objection without saying it is truly ridiculous. Upon the principle assumed in the objection, there is no promise in the Bible that has become due that can be or ought to be pleaded by Christians, inasmuch as the promises must be already fulfilled, else God has violated his word.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1839 paragraph 782 677 Lecture XI. & XII The Promises- No.'s 1 - 5 ...

But to what I have said, it may be objected--that the New Testament times have really come--that the New Covenant has been actually made with the Church--and that those who have actually received it have not been entirely sanctified. To this I reply--that the Church may have received more or less of the New Covenant precisely according to their understanding of the fullness of the promised blessings, and their faith in the promises. When God had promised the New Covenant, he said, "Nevertheless I will be inquired of by the house of Israel to do it for them." Now it is nowhere asserted in the Bible that the New Testament, or Covenant, has been fully received, although the time has come when it is offered to the Church. Under the New Covenant dispensation, it is promised that the fullness of the Gentiles shall turn to the Lord, and that the Jews themselves shall be converted and receive this covenant. Now the fact that the Church has not actually received the blessing of sanctification, no more proves that that blessing is not fully promised in the New Covenant, than the fact that the Jews and Gentiles have not been converted, proves that no such thing is promised. It is certain that the promises are not fulfilled in regard to the world's conversion, for the very reason that the Church and the world have not believed and applied these promises. The same is true of the New Covenant blessing of sanctification. This blessing has been received to a very limited extent by the Church because she has neglected to believe and apply the promise.

4. Another reason why the promises are not fulfilled in us, is that we often fail to search out the one that is applicable to our circumstances. There are promises adapted to all our circumstances and states of mind, as I have before shown. No one will answer our purpose for the time being, but the one that is applicable to our state of mind. I have often been struck with this, in endeavoring to help anxious souls out of their difficulties. After inquiring as clearly as I was able into their state of mind, I have presented one, and another, and another of the promises, and found that they would instantly perceive that these promises did not exactly meet their case. But when the Spirit of the Lord directed to the selection of the right promise, I have often been amazed and delighted to see how instantly they would recognize it as exactly suited to their case--as made to one exactly in their state of mind--as meeting them where they are, and affording them just the aid they needed. It is often most refreshing to see with what a grasp the mind in such a state will lay hold upon such a promise, and how, in a moment, it becomes as an "anchor to the soul, sure and steadfast," and how easily the mind when anchored down upon such a promise, can look out upon the storm that rages without, and smile through tears of joy. It is one of the great and sweet employments of the ministry, to search out and apply the blessed promises to the different states of mind in which their people are--to feed the lambs and sheep with food suited to their age and spiritual health; and he is surely but ill-instructed in the oracles of God, who has not sufficient spiritual discernment, experience, and knowledge of the Bible, and of the laws of the human mind, to know how to search out the real state of different persons, and apply the promises that belong to them. It is a most divine employment, and if ministers were much better fitted for it, than they are, the weak ones of the flock would soon be strong.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1839 paragraph 784 677 Lecture XI. & XII The Promises- No.'s 1 - 5 ...

6. Again, we do not receive them as belonging to us, as in the case that I have mentioned, where one supposed that the promise of the New Testament was made only to the Jews. Now multitudes seem never to have understood the promises made to individuals and to the Church under the Old Covenant, as belonging still more emphatically to the Church and to individuals under the Christian dispensation. They seem entirely to have overlooked the fact that Christ and his apostles always treated the promises of the Old Testament, as more emphatically belonging to Christians under the New dispensation. Now here is a sufficient reason for their not receiving the fulfillment of the promises, that they do not understand them as made to themselves. Consequently they do not believe nor apply them.

 

 


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7. It does not seem to be generally understood, that the promises mean all that they say--that they are to be interpreted by the same rules by which the commandments, and other parts of scripture are to be interpreted, e.g. the promise "The Lord thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul," does not seem to be understood to mean as much as the command "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength." It is a matter of amazement and grief that so many individuals, who will contend for the literal meaning of the commandments, will fritter away the promises when the same terms are used, as meaning infinitely less, than the language in the commandments means. Just as if an infinitely bountiful God meant less by the promises of grace than by the requirements of justice. If that man is to be accounted least in the kingdom of God who shall teach men to cast away one of the least of the commandments of God, what shall be said of him who not only casts away himself, but teaches others to cast away the promises of God? Were this the place, it could be easily shown, that it has been a common thing with those who have written against the doctrine of entire sanctification, in this life, to interpret the promises by a very different rule from that which they applied to the commandments. Now I would humbly ask where is their authority for doing this? Is not such a course manifestly a violation of the Word of God?

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1839 paragraph 786 677 Lecture XI. & XII The Promises- No.'s 1 - 5 ...

8. Another reason is, we are so prone to limit their meaning to our own experience, or to the experience of others whom we esteem to be eminent saints. How common is it for persons to inquire, if these promises mean this, why did not President Edwards or his wife, or Mrs. Isabella Graham, or Dr. Payson understand them and experience their fulfillment? Now we are apt to suffer such cases as these to stumble us, by assuming that they understood and applied the promises in all their length and breadth. It should be understood that no man's experience is the standard of truth. We are not to interpret the Bible by the experience of any man, but bring the experience of every man into the light of the Bible. The plain meaning of the Bible as it reads, is the standard, whatever we may have experienced to the contrary notwithstanding. It is the practice of some men, in these days, when the full meaning of the promises of the gospel is contended for, to reply, by demanding an example. They say, show us an example of a perfect man. To this I reply,
 

(1) That should such an example be produced, its perfection would not be acknowledged. Christ claimed and really possessed perfection. But his claim was set aside by the religious teachers of his day, and he was considered as a blasphemer, and as one possessed with a devil. I verily believe that examples have been produced, and that some have all along existed in the Church, and now exist, who enjoy the blessing of entire sanctification, as I understand that term, and who nevertheless, have been and still are looked upon, even by the mass of professors of religion, as being so far from a sanctified state, as to render it very doubtful whether they have any religion at all; certainly the most holy persons that I have ever seen have been the most maligned and persecuted, and denounced, even by many of the Church, as being almost any thing else than what they ought to be. And this is exactly according to the Word of God. "If any man will live godly in Christ Jesus, he shall suffer persecution."

 

 


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(3) If no such example did exist, or ever has existed, it would prove nothing more than that the gospel has not yet done all for the world and the Church, which it was designed to accomplish. And who, I would humbly ask, believes that it has? Who believes that either the Church or the world has experienced all that the gospel is designed to effect? If no case can indeed be found, where entire sanctification is enjoyed, by any saint, it certainly does not prove that the promises mean no more than is enjoyed, but only that they are not believed, and the fullness of their meaning realized in the experience of the Church.
 

9. Another reason why the promises are not fulfilled in us is a want of perseverance. The Bible insists largely upon the importance of perseverance in prayer. The case of the "woman of Canaan" is recorded in the 15th of Matthew; and that of the unjust judge in the 18th of Luke, and many other instances recorded in the Bible, set the importance of perseverance in prayer in a strong light. It is often the case, that individuals will pray with confidence for blessings for a short time; but becoming discouraged because the blessing does not come, or supposing perseverance to be unnecessary and that the blessing will come in its time without it, they cease their efforts and wrestling, and, in this respect, restrain prayer before God. Now it is very often the case, that perseverance is naturally indispensable to our obtaining the blessing--that nothing else can prepare our minds to receive it; and it is often the case that it cannot be granted, but through our own agency and protracted and agonizing efforts. Some obstacle may be, to be overcome, either within or without ourselves, that can be overcome in no other way. As Christ said on a certain occasion, "This kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting."

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1839 paragraph 789 677 Lecture XI. & XII The Promises- No.'s 1 - 5 ...

10. Again, we hold on too long, i.e. we do not go from promise to promise, taking hold on them as they rise one above the other. Now it is manifest to those who have experience on the subject, that the promises are adapted to all possible states of mind, from the lowest degree of grace, and from the lowest depths of despondency, step by step, up to the highest degrees of holy confidence and triumph of which the human mind is capable. It often comes to pass, that when individuals have taken hold on some of those promises, designed to reach the Christian in his most languid state, such as "He giveth power to the faint, and to him that hath no might he increaseth strength." "The bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench till he bring forth judgment unto victory" that here he rests, and being comforted by these promises he does not proceed to take hold on promises suited to his state of mind as he rises, and thus rise quite out of the murky regions of his unbelief and selfishness, but contents himself with hanging upon that one, or those of that class, without rising any higher. It is impossible that a believer should remain stationary. He must go from strength to strength, or he will certainly insensibly decline. The promises are like a ladder that reaches from earth to heaven; and the cry continually is, come up higher, come up higher, and unless the mind is taken up with viewing the heights still above, and what is still to be attained, it is apt to become giddy with looking down upon those below, and dwelling upon its own attainments, and being lifted up with pride, falls into the condemnation of the devil.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1839 paragraph 790 677 Lecture XI. & XII The Promises- No.'s 1 - 5 ...

11. We do not duly consider how intimately God's glory is connected with our receiving all that the promises mean. We are apt to be taken up with a sense of our unworthiness, and be discouraged by a consideration of it, and not duly to consider that this very unworthiness would render it exceedingly honorable to God to give us the fullness of his grace, and wholly to transform us into his own image. I love to contemplate the grace of God as manifested in Paul--once a Saul--a raging persecutor, breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the infant Church--afterwards so changed by the grace of God as to become the wonder of the world in his remarkable resemblance of the Son of God.

God's glory is his reputation or renown. And if to bestow great and transforming grace upon the children of men who are in the image of hell, is calculated to convey a high idea of the patience, forbearance, goodness and moral omnipotence of God, then certainly his glory is intimately connected with our receiving the full meaning and power of his promises.

12. We do not sufficiently consider the importance of our becoming living illustrations of the power and grace of God. There should be among Christians, a holy ambition, each one to become a living, standing illustration of the full meaning of the promises, and of the provisions of the gospel to transform the soul into the divine image and make it a partaker of the divine nature. Who that has read the life of Mrs. President Edwards, has not been encouraged and edified and strengthened to press after higher attainments in holiness when they have seen what grace can do and what it actually has done, even in modern times, to transform and elevate the soul. Now as we prize the glory of God--as we desire to do good to the Church, instead of being satisfied with small attainments, we should reach after the highest measure of grace, and try the full strength and intent of the promises, and ask God to give us for his own glory all that he meant to promise--that the unbelief of the Church may be rebuked, and that we might so illustrate in our own experience the fullness of gospel salvation, that the frittering away of the promises and paring them down to the legal experience of the Church in her present state may be done away forever.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1839 paragraph 792 677 Lecture XI. & XII The Promises- No.'s 1 - 5 ...

15. Another reason is a God-dishonoring unbelief, and a blasphemous putting in of but, and if, when pleading the promises of God, which imply insincerity on the part of God in making the promises, e.g. Christ has said "God is more willing to give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him than parents are to give good gifts to their children." Suppose we pray for the Holy Ghost, and preface and conclude the petition by saying, "if it be thy will," &c. Now wherever there is an express promise, to put in an if in this way, is to call in question the sincerity of God. Where he has made no conditions, we are to make none, unless we would be guilty of adding to or subtracting from his word.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1839 paragraph 793 677 Lecture XI. & XII The Promises- No.'s 1 - 5 ...

16. Another difficulty is, very few have ever learned how to use the promises. They have so little faith in them as not to select them, nor have [they] committed them to memory, nor arranged them in any order in their own minds. And to them, the weapons of their spiritual warfare are about as useless as if they were locked up in an armory. Now the promises of God should be so pondered, selected, arranged, and remembered, as to be ever ready at hand, that the one that is needed may be presented at any time to quench the fiery darts of the wicked. To understand how to use the promises of God is a science of vast extent, and it requires the highest exercise of the human faculties, always to be able to seize upon the one we need, for our own or for others edification and support. I regard this as one of the principal qualifications of ministers. We need to know how so to apply the promises of grace, as to bring the Church from her low estate to those heights to which the promises were designed to elevate her.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1839 paragraph 794 677 Lecture XI. & XII The Promises- No.'s 1 - 5 ...

17. Another reason is that the ministry to a great extent, are frittering away instead of applying the promises of God to the help and edification of the Church. My soul is often sick to see how the promises are understood, and how they are explained away, and the Church robbed of its heritage, and the sheep starved to death by those who are set to feed the flock of God.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1839 paragraph 796 677 Lecture XI. & XII The Promises- No.'s 1 - 5 ...

19. Another reason is, a disposition to defer the fulfillment of the promises to the Millennium. In my apprehension, this is the very reason why the Millennium has not already come, because the Church are waiting for the effect to precede the cause. The Millennium will be the fulfillment of these promises. Before they can be fulfilled they must be believed and pleaded. But the Church seems to be waiting for the Millennium first to come, and then they will lay hold of the promises. How long shall the Church thus act? How long shall the promises that are conditioned in their very nature upon our faith, remain a dead letter in the Bible because the Church is waiting for their fulfillment before they are believed?

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1839 paragraph 797 677 Lecture XI. & XII The Promises- No.'s 1 - 5 ...

20. Many are doubting whether these promises are to be fulfilled until we get into eternity, e.g. of the promise of the New Covenant it is said by some that no time is specified when it shall be fulfilled, and consequently we know not that we have a right to expect the blessing until we arrive at heaven. Now to this a multitude of answers might be given. But at present I will only say,
 

(1) That a promise in which no time for its fulfillment is either expressed or implied is void and a ridiculous mockery. Should I promise to pay A.B. twenty-five dollars without saying anything at all of the time, then he may call upon me at any time, for my obligation is considered as on demand. But if I should say at some FUTURE time, without specifying when, it would be void, as the time would never come when it would be considered as due. This is true of the promises of God. When a promise is made in the present tense it is always due or may at any time be pleaded--if at a future time, it is not due until that time arrives. If a promise should be found (of which there is no instance in the Bible) in which no particular future time is expressed or implied, that promise must from its nature be a mere nullity: For faith being the condition, it is plain that the condition can never be fulfilled because there is nothing on which it can rest, it being impossible to ascertain whether the time is come or when it will come that the promise was intended to be fulfilled. If it be said, as in the promise of the New Covenant, that, "after those days,"--"at that time," &c. evidently referring to some particular future time when the promise should be fulfilled--at that time it becomes due, and ever after that time it may be pleaded as a promise in the present tense. The particular time referred to in such cases may be learned in general by the connection in which the promise stands, or by reference to other parts of scripture: e.g.; Many things are promised to be fulfilled "in the latter day,"--"at the end of the world or Jewish age," &c. From the Bible, it is abundantly evident that the latter day is the gospel day--that the end of the world when by the phrase is meant the end of the Jewish state, is also the commencement of the Christian dispensation, and that all the promises of blessings to be bestowed "in the last days" are now to be regarded as in the present tense, to be fulfilled at any time and to anyone who will believe them. This is undeniably the understanding of the Apostle, when, in Hebrews, he quotes the promise of the New Covenant from Jeremiah, as a promise to be fulfilled at the coming of Christ, who was the mediator of the New Covenant. Now the coming of Christ was the particular time at which the promise made by Jeremiah, and so often repeated in the prophets was to be considered as due, and forever after treated as a promise in the present tense. Christ's coming did not of itself secure the fulfillment of the promise, irrespective of our own faith and agency, but it pointed out the time when the Church was to look for its fulfillment, and when its fulfillment should depend upon their pleading it in faith.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1839 paragraph 798 677 Lecture XI. & XII The Promises- No.'s 1 - 5 ...

(2) If there be no particular time in which the promises of God are to be fulfilled, I mean those of them that are in the future tense, then we can no more receive their fulfillment in heaven than we can here. For without a new revelation informing us that the time has come, we can never lay hold on them as due,--we cannot believe and receive their fulfillment. If the promise is evidently future, and no time is expressed or implied, when it shall be fulfilled, when we have been in heaven myriads of ages, we shall no more be able to lay hold on the promise as due, nor so far as I can see, be any more certain that the time for its fulfillment is not yet future, than we are now.
 

21. Another reason why the promises are not fulfilled in us is, we are unwilling on some accounts to have them fulfilled. Such as a fear of disgrace, being called fanatics, perfectionists or something else of the kind, that we dread. Lest we should have to abandon some particular indulgence, lust, or favorite pursuit. Now it often happens, that we would be very willing to have the blessing of sanctification, if it did not imply the actual giving up of sin, under every form. Many are praying for that blessing who are after all holding on to some form of sin.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1839 paragraph 800 677 Lecture XI. & XII The Promises- No.'s 1 - 5 ...

23. Our experience of the inefficacy of prayer, such as we have so often offered in selfishness, operates as a discouragement, and we come to God in the peevishness of unbelief. We have so often come to God in our selfishness and pleaded his promises, overlooking the wickedness of our motives, that we are ready to conclude either that we have misunderstood the promises altogether--that the time has not come for their fulfillment, or for some reason our prayers cannot prevail, and therefore we do not expect to receive the blessing. We are straitened by our wants, and cry to God, but it is in the anguish of unbelief, and we are of course denied.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1839 paragraph 802 677 Lecture XI. & XII The Promises- No.'s 1 - 5 ...

25. Persons often tempt God, in asking the fulfillment of a promise without performing its conditions.

I might mention a great many other reasons, but these must suffice. And now I must close this discourse by saying, that I cannot tell you how much I felt shocked, when the question came fully up whether the grace of God was sufficient as a matter of fact for the entire sanctification of Christians in this life, and it was flatly denied. The question in this shape had never come fairly and fully before my mind as a subject of distinct consideration till the last winter of my residence in N. Y. And I can never express my astonishment and grief when I found that men standing high in the Church of God flatly denied it. I have often asked myself, is it possible that these brethren can be of the opinion that if a man should believe and realize in his own experience the full meaning of the promises, and all that the gospel and the grace of God can do for a man in this world, that he would not be entirely sanctified? I would humbly ask, where is there one among them that has tried the experiment? It is no answer to this to turn around and inquire, have you received the fullness of the promise? Are you sanctified? For if I have not, and if there were not a man on earth that has, that does not at all change the meaning of the promise, nor prove that they are not sufficient to produce entire sanctification, so long as it is true that every one of them must confess that they have never received or hardly begun to receive all that they themselves admit the promises mean.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1839 paragraph 881 869 Lecture XIV. The Holy Spirit of Promise ...

Gal. 3:7, 9, 14, 29. "Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham. That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise." Here again it is manifest that the Apostle in writing to the Gentiles, expressly includes them in the covenant made with Abraham, and affirms that if they are Christians, then they are "Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise." And 4:28, he says "Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise." Here then he affirms that the Gentiles are as absolutely within the promise made to Abraham as Isaac was. In Eph. 2:12-22, we have it declared in full that the Gentiles inherit all the promises of spiritual blessings made to Abraham and the fathers--that there is no distinction in this respect between Jews and Gentiles, that all who have faith are entitled to the promises of spiritual blessings. "That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world. But now, in Christ Jesus, ye who sometime were far off, are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us: Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby; And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints and of the household of God, And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone; In whom all the building, fitly framed together, groweth unto a holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit. I might quote many more passages to the same import, but these must suffice.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1839 paragraph 882 869 Lecture XIV. The Holy Spirit of Promise ...

II. I am to show what this blessing is.

1. It is not merely a promise that Christ should be of his seed, for the Apostle affirms in Gal. 3:16, 19 that the promise was made to Christ through Abraham. "Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds as of many, but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgression, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator." And in the text it is said "that the blessing might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ." This blessing then promised was not Christ himself, but some promise to Christ, and through Christ to all the nations of the earth.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1839 paragraph 883 869 Lecture XIV. The Holy Spirit of Promise ...

2. The text informs us that this blessing promised to Abraham, and to his seed, and through Christ his seed, to all the nations of the earth, is the Holy Spirit. This is the grand thing upon which the prophets and the inspired writers seem to have had their eye all along under the old dispensation. And by a careful examination of the scriptures, it will be found that the promises are one unbroken chain from Abraham to Christ, and even to the time when the canon of the scripture was complete, everywhere pointing out this particular blessing. It was promised sometimes in figurative language, where the Spirit of God is represented as water. But in most instances the prophets have spoken without a figure and promised the Spirit by name. Isa. 32:15, "Until the Spirit be poured upon us from on high, and the wilderness be a fruitful field, and the fruitful field be counted for a forest."--and 44:3, "For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour my Spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring;" and 59:21, "As for me, this is my covenant with them, saith the Lord; My Spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed's seed, saith the Lord, from henceforth and for ever." Jer. 31:33, "But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people." and 32:40, "And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me." Ezek.11:19, "And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh;" and 36:27, "And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them;" and the text; "That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith." Acts 1:4, 5, "And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. For John truly baptised with water; but ye shall be baptised with the Holy Ghost not many days hence." John 7:38, 39, "He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive; for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)" and 16:7, 13: "Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you." "Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come." and 14:16, 17: "And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you." A careful examination of these passages will show what the great blessing under the eye of inspiration was. The great thing promised to Abraham as affirmed in the text, and in these passages which I have now quoted, with numerous other passages that might be quoted, demonstrate that the great thing promised was the Holy Spirit. This was the spiritual blessing that belonged to all nations, while temporal Canaan belonged only to the Jews. In Eph. 1:13, the Holy Spirit is expressly called the "Holy Spirit of promise."

III. This blessing is to be received by faith.

1. This is expressly asserted in the text. "That we might receive the promise of the Spirit THROUGH FAITH." In the second verse of this same chapter the Apostle inquires, "Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law or by the hearing of FAITH?" John 7:38-39 Christ says, "He that BELIEVETH ON ME, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that BELIEVE ON HIM should receive." Other passages might be quoted to the same effect.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1839 paragraph 890 869 Lecture XIV. The Holy Spirit of Promise ...

2. This promise made to Abraham, and all those others founded upon it and promising the same things, are now due, i.e. the time has come when they are to be considered as promises in the present tense. They may now be claimed by the Church for themselves and for all the nations of the earth. These promises were not due in Abraham's day. They were promises to him and to all the Old Testament saints of future good. And it is expressly said of Abraham and of the Old Testament saints that they "all died in faith not having received the promises but having seen them afar off." And again in Heb. 11:39, 40, "And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise; God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect." Here it is plainly declared that these promises are due to us and available to us in a higher sense than they were to Abraham and the Old Testament saints.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1839 paragraph 899 869 Lecture XIV. The Holy Spirit of Promise ...

8. Finally. Every individual Christian may receive and is bound to receive this gift of the Holy Ghost through faith at the present moment. It must not be supposed that every Christian has of course received the Holy Ghost in such a sense as it is promised in these passages of Scripture or in any higher sense than he was received by the Old Testament saints who had actually been regenerated and were real saints, of whom it is said, that "they all died in faith not having received the promises." Now it would seem as if there were thousands of Christians who have not received the promises on account of their ignorance and unbelief. It is said that "after we believe we are sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise." Now beloved the thing that we need is to understand and get hold of this promise to Abraham, and through Abraham to Christ, and through Christ and by Christ to the whole Church of God. Now remember it is to be received by simple faith in these promises. "Be it unto thee according to thy faith." "For it is written the just shall live by faith."

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1839 paragraph 917 901 Lecture XV. The Covenants ...

(2) Where parties covenant to do what was not before obligatory, but the whole obligation arises out of their mutual promise. This kind of covenant may be dissolved by the consent of all parties. In regard to those laws and institutions which require only what is obligatory on the principles of natural justice, they cannot be repealed or set aside by either or by both parties, e.g. the law of God requiring his creatures to love him with all the heart can never be repealed by him, or its obligation in any way dispensed with, because it is plainly right in itself, and a dictate of natural justice. Those laws and institutions which are of a ceremonial character, and are not in their own nature obligatory, may be set aside at any time, at the will of the lawgiver. Let it be understood then, that in the sense of diatheke, all laws, institutions and ordinances are covenants, and imply the mutual consent of the sovereign and subjects, and mutual obligations devolve upon each. In this sense the laws and ordinances of God are covenants.

III. I will notice some of the covenants of God with men.

1. The Adamic covenant, or the covenant made with Adam. This must have been in substance the moral law, as epitomized by the Savior in the two great commandments. The test of this covenant was the refusing the forbidden fruit. If he abstained wholly from this fruit, it was sufficient evidence that his love to God was supreme, and that he regarded the authority of God above the indulgence of his constitutional appetites. But if he partook of this fruit it was conclusive evidence, that his regard to God was not supreme; but that the indulgence of appetite was with him superior to the authority of God. That this was properly a covenant and consented to by Adam, is manifest from the fact, that for a time he obeyed it.

This was strictly and properly a covenant of works, and proposed to save him on the ground of his perfect and perpetual obedience to God.

2. Passing by the covenant with Noah, I notice the covenant made with Abraham, as recorded in the 12, 15, and 17 chapters of Genesis. This was a covenant of grace in opposition to the Adamic covenant. It proposed a new way of salvation. Salvation by works of the law had become impossible, as Adam and all his posterity had disobeyed the law. God therefore, in the Abrahamic covenant, proposed to save mankind by grace through faith. The substance of this had been intimated to Adam immediately after the fall, and was, no doubt, understood and embraced by all the saints from Adam to Abraham. We find Abel offering a sacrifice in faith, and his sacrifice was typical of the Atonement of Christ. This covenant, made more fully with Abraham, is said by the Apostle in Gal. 3:8 to be the gospel: "And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, in thee shall all nations be blessed." That it was a covenant of grace in opposition to a covenant of works is evident from the passage just quoted, and from the 16th verse of the same chapter: "Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds as of many, but as of one, 'And to thy seed,' which is Christ." Also from Rom. 4:13, 16: "For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not unto Abraham, or his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith. Therefore it is of faith, that it might be of grace; to the end the promise might be sure to the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all." These and many other passages show that this covenant with Abraham was a gracious, in opposition to a legal, covenant or a covenant of works.

We have an account of the solemn ratification of this covenant, according to the custom of those times by dividing beasts and the parties passing between the pieces, in Gen. 15:8-12, 17: "And he said, Lord God, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it? And he said unto him, take me an heifer of three years old, and a she-goat of three years old, and a ram of three years old, and a turtledove, and a young pigeon. And he took unto him all these, and divided them in the midst, and laid each piece one against another; but the birds divided he not. And when the fowls came down upon the carcasses, Abram drove them away. And when the sun was going down a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and lo, a horror of great darkness fell upon him. And it came to pass, when the sun went down and it was dark, behold a smoking furnace, and a burning lamp that passed between those pieces." Here the lamp is the symbol of the divine presence. In the 17th chap. we have an account of the seal's being added to the covenant to which Abraham fully consented on his part, by circumcising himself and all the males of his household. This covenant was made with Abraham and with all believers in the God of Israel whether Jews or Gentiles. If they would receive this covenant they were to acknowledge his authority by affixing its seal to themselves and all the males of their household. Thus the proselytes to the Jew's religion, before they were allowed to eat of the Passover, were required to be circumcised with all their males. Ex. 12:48, 49: "And when a stranger shall sojourn with thee, and will keep the Passover to the Lord, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near and keep it; and he shall be as one born in the land: for no uncircumcised person shall eat thereof. One law shall be to him that is home born, and to the stranger who sojourneth among you."

3. The Sinai covenant, or the law given at Mount Sinai. It appears that all the laws and ordinances given at Mount Sinai taken together, made up this covenant. In the following passages the Ten Commandments are called the covenant. Heb. 9:4: "Which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein was the golden pot that had manna and Aaron's rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant--"; Ex. 34:28, "And he was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights; he did neither eat bread nor drink water. And he wrote upon the tables the words of the covenant, the ten commandments." Deut. 9:9, 11, 15: "When I was gone up into the mount, to receive the tables of stone, even the tables of the covenant which the Lord made with you, then I neither did eat bread nor drink water. And it came to pass at the end of forty days and forty nights, that the Lord gave me the two tables of stone, even the tables of the covenant. So I turned and came down from the mount, and the mount burned with fire; and the two tables of the covenant were in my hands."

These commandments however were only a part of the covenant as other passages clearly show, Heb. 9:18-20 compared with Ex. 24:3-8.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1839 paragraph 936 901 Lecture XV. The Covenants ...

4. From this subject may be seen the error of some of the modern Perfectionists who seem to suppose that the old dispensation, or Sinai covenant, was a covenant of works. They do not seem to understand that it was only a method of carrying out and accomplishing the promises of grace first intimated to Adam immediately after the fall and more fully afterwards confirmed to Abraham. This, as a system of means for the sanctification and salvation of men, has been set aside to give place to a fuller revelation and to the dispensation of the Holy Ghost under the Gospel, retaining at the same time in all its strength, as a rule of duty, the obligation of all the moral precepts. The persons to whom I allude have manifestly mistaken the sense in which the Old Covenant is done away, and understood even the moral precepts to be so abrogated as to be no longer binding. And they seem to be very happy in the idea of being wholly discharged from the obligation of the moral law. Before them the door of licentiousness is fully open, and imagining themselves, as some of them do, to be led by the Spirit to trample upon the great commands of the Decalogue, they most richly deserve and are likely to receive the execration of God and man.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1839 paragraph 981 942 Lecture XVI. & XVII. The Rest of Faith- No.'s 1 & 2 ...

5. Ignorance of the power of faith is another reason why persons do not enter into this rest. They do not understand that as a matter of fact, faith in the existence, power, goodness, providence and grace of God--that unwavering confidence in all he does and says, would in its own nature as a thing of course, bring them into the rest of which I am speaking.

Suppose a ship should be bestormed at sea, that all on board is confusion, dismay, and almost despair--the ship is driven by a fierce tempest upon a lee shore. Now suppose that in the midst of all the uncertainty, racking, and almost distracting anxiety of the passengers and crew, a voice should be heard from heaven, they knowing it to be the voice of the eternal God, assuring them that the ship should be safe--that not a hair of their heads should perish--and that they should ride out the storm in perfect safety. It is easy to see that the effect of this announcement upon different minds would be in precise proportion to their confidence in its truth. If they believed it, they would by no means throw up the helm, and give themselves up to indolence and let the ship drive before the waves, but standing, every man at his place, and managing the ship in the best manner possible, they would enjoy a quiet and composed mind in proportion to their confidence that all would be well. If any did not believe it, their anxiety and trouble would continue of course, and they might wonder at the calmness of those who did; and even reproach them for not being as anxious as themselves. You might see among them every degree of feeling from the despair and deep forebodings of utter unbelief, up to the full measure of the entire consolation of perfect faith. Now the design of this illustration is to show the nature of faith, and to demonstrate that entire confidence in God naturally hushes all the tumults of the mind, and settles it into a state of deep repose--that it does not beget inaction, presumption or spiritual indolence any more than the revelation of which I have spoken, would beget inattention to its management on board the ship.

6. Another reason is, many are discouraged by the misrepresentations of the spies who have been sent to spy out the land. It is a painful and really an alarming consideration, that so many of those who are leaders in Israel, and who are supposed by the Church to have gone up and reconnoitered the whole land of spiritual experience, that almost with united voice they should return to the Church, and represent that we are unable to go up and possess the land. Of all those that were sent by Moses to spy out the land only two had any faith in the promise of God, whereas all the rest united in their testimony that they were unable to possess the land. And that rest was unattainable to them in this life. So it appears to me in these days. Those that are appointed to direct and encourage the people, by first acquainting themselves thoroughly with the ground to be possessed, and then carrying to the people the confidence of faith, encouraging them, not only by the promises of God, but by their own experience and observation, that the land may be possessed--instead of this they bring up an evil report, discourage the hearts of the people of God, maintain that the grace of God has made no sufficient provisions for their taking possession of the land of holiness in this life, that the world, the flesh and the devil are such mighty Anakims as that to overcome them is utterly out of the question, and that no hope remains, only as we flee from their territories and get out of the world the best way we can. Now I greatly fear that will happen to them which came upon the spies in the days of Moses. They were driven back, and their carcasses fell in the wilderness. God swore in his wrath, that they should not enter into his rest. And not only they, but that entire generation who were deceived by them, and who could not enter in because of unbelief, were wasted away and died without rest in the wilderness. How many generations of the Church of God shall thus be wasted away in the wilderness of sin! How long will generation after generation of spies continue to bring up their evil report, discouraging the hearts, and confirming the unbelief of the people, and effectually preventing their taking possession of that rest which remains for the people of God!

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1839 paragraph 992 942 Lecture XVI. & XVII. The Rest of Faith- No.'s 1 & 2 ...

This rest is to be possessed at once by anchoring down in naked faith upon the promises of God. Take the illustration which I have already given, viz: the ship at sea. Suppose she were dashing upon the rocks, and a voice from heaven should cry out, "Let go your sheet anchor and all shall be safe." Suppose they believed that. With what confidence and composure would they let go the anchor, understanding it to be certain that it would bring them up and that they should ride out the storm. Now this composure of mind, any one may see, might and would be entered upon at once by an act of naked faith. Just so there are no circumstances in which men are ever placed, where they may not enter into rest at once by anchoring down in naked faith upon the promises of God. Let the first six verses of the 37 Psalm be an illustration of what I mean. "Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity: For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb. Trust in the Lord and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him, and he shall bring it to pass. And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday." Now suppose an individual to be borne down by the persecution of his enemies, or to be so situated in his temporal circumstances as not to know what he should do for bread. Let him take hold upon these promises, and peace and rest would flow in upon his mind, and light and joy would spring up like the sun breaking through an ocean of storm.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1839 paragraph 1111 1087 Lecture XIX. Legal and Gospel Experience ...

7. It implies so much hope that he should be heard as to encourage prayer. Like a man that had fallen into a pit lifting up his voice again and again, if peradventure some passerby might hear his wailing and be attracted to the spot to afford him help.

I do not think this waiting upon the Lord implies an anchoring down in faith upon the promises of God, for this would at once remove the anguish of the mind. But it means rather the cry of distress almost despairing, and yet so much hope remaining as to encourage a vehement crying to the Lord.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1839 paragraph 1122 1087 Lecture XIX. Legal and Gospel Experience ...

3. They do not take a course that can ever bring them out. They are striving to get grace by works of law, instead of taking hold at once by naked faith upon the promises of God.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1840 paragraph 153 21 Lectures I. - IX. Sanctification- No.'s 1 - 9 ...

2. The provisions of grace are such as to render its actual attainment in this life, the object of reasonable pursuit. It is admitted that the entire and permanent sanctification of the church is to be accomplished. It is also admitted that this work is to be accomplished "through the sanctification of the Spirit and the belief of the truth." It is also universally agreed that this work must be begun here; and also that it must be completed before the soul can enter heaven. This then is the inquiry, Is this state attainable as a matter of fact before death; and if so when, in this life, may we expect to attain it? It is easy to see that this question can be settled only by a reference to the word of God. And here it is of fundamental importance that we understand the rules by which scripture declarations and promises are to be interpreted. I have already given several rules in the light of which we have endeavored to interpret the meaning of the law. I will now state several plain common sense rules by which the promises are to be interpreted. The question in regard to the rules of biblical interpretation is fundamental to all religious inquiry. Until the church are agreed to interpret the scriptures in accordance with certain fixed and undeniable principles, they can never be agreed in regard to what the Bible teaches. I have often been amazed at the total disregard of all sober rules of biblical interpretation. On the one hand the threatenings, and on the other the promises, are either thrown away or made to mean something entirely different from that which was intended by the Spirit of God. I have much to say on this subject, and design, the Lord willing, to make the rules of biblical interpretation the subject of distinct inquiry at another time. At present, I will only mention a few plain, common sense, and self-evident rules for the interpretation of the promises. In the light of these, we may be able to settle the inquiry before us, viz: whether the provisions of grace are such as to render entire and permanent sanctification, in this life, an object of reasonable pursuit.
 

(1.) The language of a promise is to be interpreted by a reference to the known character of him who promises, where this character is revealed and made known in other ways than by the promise itself, e.g.
 

(a) If the promisor is known to be of a very bountiful disposition, or the opposite of this, these considerations should be taken into the account in interpreting the language of his promise. If he is of a very bountiful disposition, he may be expected to mean all that he seems to mean in the language of his promise, and a very liberal construction should be put upon his language. But if his character is known to be the opposite of bountifulness, and that whatever he promised would be given with great reluctance, his language should be construed strictly.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1840 paragraph 166 21 Lectures I. - IX. Sanctification- No.'s 1 - 9 ...

(13.) I have said, we are to interpret the language of law so as to consist with natural justice. I now say, that we are to interpret the language of the promises so as to consist with the known greatness, resources, goodness, bountifulness, relations, design, happiness, and glory of the promisor.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1840 paragraph 219 21 Lectures I. - IX. Sanctification- No.'s 1 - 9 ...

Having examined a few of the promises in proof of the position, that a state of entire sanctification is attainable in this life, I will now proceed to mention other considerations in support of this doctrine.

5. Christ prayed for the entire sanctification of saints in this life. "I pray not," He says, "that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil of the world." He did not pray that they should be kept from persecution or from natural death, but He manifestly prayed, that they should be kept from sin. Suppose Christ had commanded them to keep themselves from the evil of the world; what should we understand him to mean by such a command?

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1840 paragraph 309 21 Lectures I. - IX. Sanctification- No.'s 1 - 9 ...

(6.) It is expressly asserted of Abraham and multitudes of the Old Testament saints, that they "died in faith, not having received the promises." Now what can this mean? It cannot be that they did not know the promises, for to them the promises were made. It cannot mean that they did not receive Christ, for the Bible expressly asserts that they did,--that "Abraham rejoiced to see Christ's day,"--that Moses, and indeed all the Old Testament saints, had so much knowledge of Christ, as a Savior to be revealed, as to bring them into a state of salvation. But still they did not receive the promise of the Spirit as it is poured out under the Christian dispensation. They did not receive the light, and the glory of the Christian dispensation, nor the fulness of the Holy Spirit. And it is asserted in the Bible, that "they without us," i.e. without our privileges, "could not be made perfect."

2. The next objection is founded upon the Lord's Prayer. In this, Christ has taught us to pray, "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us." Here it is objected that if a person should become entirely sanctified, he could no longer use this clause of this prayer, which it is said, was manifestly designed to be used by the Church to the end of time. Upon this prayer I remark:
 

(1.) Christ has taught us to pray for entire and permanent sanctification, "Thy will be done on earth as it is done in heaven."

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1840 paragraph 324 21 Lectures I. - IX. Sanctification- No.'s 1 - 9 ...

It might as well be argued that all the rest of the promises and prophecies relating to the gospel day were fulfilled, because the time had come when the promise was due. Suppose it were denied that the world would ever be converted, or that there ever would be any more piety in the world than there has been and is at present; and when the promises and prophecies respecting the latter day glory, and the conversion of the world, should be adduced in proof, that the world is to be converted, it should be replied that these promises had already been fulfilled--that they were unconditional--and that the advent of the Messiah, was the time when they became due. But suppose, that in answer to this, it should be urged that nothing has ever yet occurred in the history of this world that seems at all to have come up to the meaning of these promises and prophecies--that the world has never been in the state which seems to be plainly described in these promises and prophecies--and that it cannot be that any thing the world has yet experienced is what is meant by such language as is used in the Bible, in relation to the future state of the world. Now suppose, to this it should be replied, that the event has shown what the promises and prophecies really meant--that we are to interpret the language by the fact--that as the promises and prophecies were unconditional, and the gospel day has really come when they were to be fulfilled, we certainly know, whatever their language may be, that they meant nothing more than what the world has already realized? This would be precisely like the reasoning of some persons in relation to Jer. 31:31-34. They say--

(a) The promises are without condition.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1840 paragraph 325 21 Lectures I. - IX. Sanctification- No.'s 1 - 9 ...

(b) The time has come for their fulfillment. Therefore the world has realized their fulfillment, and all that was intended by them; that the facts in the case settle the question of construction and interpretation; and we know that they never intended to promise a state of entire sanctification, because as a matter of fact no such state has been realized by the Church. Indeed! Then the Bible is the most hyperbolical, not to say ridiculous book in the universe. If what the world has seen in regard to the extension and universal prevalence of the Redeemer's kingdom, is all that the promises relating to these events really mean, then the Bible of all books in the world, is the most calculated to deceive mankind. But who, after all, in the exercise of his sober sense, will admit any such reasoning as this? Who does not know, or may not know, if he will use his common sense, that although these promises and prophecies are unconditionally expressed, yet that they are as a matter of fact really conditioned upon a right exercise of human agency, and that a time is to come, when the world shall be converted; and that the conversion of the world implies in itself a vastly higher state of religious feeling and action in the Church than has, for centuries, or perhaps ever been witnessed--and that the promise of the New Covenant is still to be fulfilled in a higher sense than it ever has been? If any man doubts this, I must believe that he does not understand his Bible.

Faith, then, is an indispensable condition of the fulfillment of all promises of spiritual blessings, the reception of which involves the exercise of our agency.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1840 paragraph 352 21 Lectures I. - IX. Sanctification- No.'s 1 - 9 ...

To be sure, there may be danger of frittering away the claims of the law and letting down the standard. But I would humbly inquire whether, hitherto, the error has not been on the other side, and whether as a general fact, the law has not been so interpreted as naturally to beget the idea so prevalent, that if a man should become holy he could not live in this world? In a letter lately received from a beloved, and useful, and venerated minister of the gospel, while the writer expressed the greatest attachment to the doctrine of entire consecration to God, and said that he preached the same doctrine which we hold to his people every Sabbath, but by another name, still he added that it was revolting to his feelings, to hear any mere man set up the claim of obedience to the law of God. Now let me inquire, why should this be revolting to the feelings of piety? Must it not be because the law of God is supposed to require something of human beings in our state, which it does not and cannot require? Why should such a claim be thought extravagant, unless the claims of the living God be thought extravagant? If the law of God really requires no more of men than what is reasonable and possible, why should it be revolting to any mind to hear an individual profess, through the grace of God, to have attained that state? I know that the brother to whom I allude, would be almost the last man deliberately and knowingly to give any strained interpretation to the law of God; and yet, I cannot but feel that much of the difficulty that good men have upon this subject, has arisen out of a comparison of the lives of saints with a standard entirely above that which the law of God does or can demand of persons in all respects in our circumstances.

13. Another objection is, that as a matter of fact the grace of God is not sufficient to secure the entire sanctification of saints in this life. It is maintained, that the question of the attainability of entire sanctification in this life, resolves itself after all into the question, whether the Church is, and Christians are sanctified in this life. The objectors say that nothing is sufficient grace that does not as a matter of fact, secure the faith and obedience and perfection of the saints; and, therefore, that the provisions of the gospel are in fact to be measured by the results; and that the experience of the Church decides both the meaning of the promises and the provisions of grace. Now to this I answer:

If this objection be good for any thing in regard to entire sanctification, it is equally true in regard to the spiritual state of every person in the world. If the fact that men are not perfect, proves that no provisions are made for their perfection, their being no better than they are proves that there is no provision for their being any better than they are, or that they might have aimed at being any better, with any rational hope of success. But who, except a fatalist, will admit any such conclusion as this? And yet I do not see but this conclusion is inevitable from such premises.

14. Another objection to this doctrine is, that it is contrary to the views of some of the greatest and best men in the Church,--that such men as Augustine, Calvin, Doddrige, Edwards, &c., were of a different opinion. To this I answer:
 

(1.) Suppose they were;--we are to call no man father in such a sense as to yield up to him the forming of our views of Christian doctrine.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1840 paragraph 367 21 Lectures I. - IX. Sanctification- No.'s 1 - 9 ...

Now it should be remembered, that in both these cases the result depends upon the exercise of the agency of the creature. In the case of the sinner given up of God, it is certain that he will not repent, though his impenitence is voluntary and by no means a thing naturally necessary. So on the other hand the perseverance of the saints is certain though not necessary. If in either case there should be a radical change of character the result would differ accordingly.

17. Again, while it is admitted by some that entire sanctification in this life is attainable, yet it is denied that there is any certainty that it will be attained by any one before death. For, it is said, that as all the promises of entire sanctification are conditioned upon faith, they therefore secure the entire sanctification of no one. To this I reply:

That all the promises of salvation in the Bible are conditioned upon faith and repentance, and therefore it does not follow on this principle, that any person ever will be saved. What does all this arguing prove? The fact is that while the promises both of salvation and sanctification, are conditioned upon faith as it respects individuals; yet to Christ and to the Church as a body, as I have already shown, these promises are unconditional. With respect to the salvation of sinners, it is promised that Christ shall have a seed to serve Him, and the Bible abounds with numerous promises, both to Christ and the Church, that secure without condition, as it regards them, the salvation of great multitudes of sinners. So the promises that the Church as a body, at some period of her earthly history, shall be entirely sanctified, are, as it regards the Church, unconditional. But, as I have already shown, as it respects individuals, the fulfillment of these promises must depend upon the exercise of faith. Both in the salvation of sinners and the sanctification of Christians, God is abundantly pledged to bring about the salvation of the one and the sanctification of the other, to the extent of His promises. But as it respects individuals, no one can claim the fulfillment of these promises without complying with the conditions.

These are the principal objections that have occurred to my mind, or that have, so far as I know, been urged by others. There may be and doubtless are others, of greater or less plausibility, to which I may have occasion to refer hereafter. Lest I should be tedious, these must suffice for the present.
 
 

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1840 paragraph 373 21 Lectures I. - IX. Sanctification- No.'s 1 - 9 ...

VIII. I am next to show when entire sanctification is attainable.

1. The blessing of entire sanctification is promised to Christians. The promises in--

Jeremiah 31:31-34: "Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers, in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was a husband unto them, saith the Lord: but this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord, for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more."

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1840 paragraph 439 21 Lectures I. - IX. Sanctification- No.'s 1 - 9 ...

12. If I am not mistaken, there is an extensive feeling among Christians and ministers, that much is not, that ought to be known and may be known of the Savior. Many are beginning to find that the Savior is to them "as a root out of dry ground, having neither form or comeliness;" that the gospel which they preach and hear is not to them "the power of God unto salvation" from sin; that it is not to them "glad tidings of great joy;" that it is not to them a peace-giving gospel; and many are feeling that if Christ has done for them, all that His grace is able to do in this life, that the plan of salvation is sadly defective, that Christ is not after all a Savior suited to their necessities--that the religion which they have is not suited to the world in which they live--that it does not, cannot make them free; but leaves them in a state of perpetual bondage. Their souls are agonized and tossed to and fro without a resting place. Multitudes also are beginning to see that there are many passages, both in the Old and New Testaments, which they do not understand; that the promises seem to mean much more than they have ever realized, and that the gospel and the plan of salvation as a whole, must be something very different from that which they have as yet apprehended. There are great multitudes all over the country, who are inquiring more earnestly than ever before, after a knowledge of that Jesus who is to save His people from their sins.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1840 paragraph 472 452 Lectures X. & XI. Unbelief- No.'s 1 & 2 ...

9. Unbelief often manifests itself in the interpretation of the Bible. Unitarians can see no sufficient evidence of the divinity of Jesus Christ. And why? Because of unbelief. It is remarkable to see to what an extent unbelief is the grand rule of biblical interpretation in the Church. Take for example, 2 Cor. 6:16-18: "And what agreement hath the temple of the living God; as God has said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty." Now what an infinitely different inference the Apostle drew from these promises from what is generally drawn: (2 Cor. 7:1:) "Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God." Here Paul saw in these promises such a fulness of meaning, as to infer at once from them, even if there were no other kindred promises in the Bible, the practicability of attaining a state of entire sanctification or holiness in this life. Mark the strength of his language. He exhorts them to "cleanse themselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, and to perfect holiness in the fear of God." How easy it is to see that his faith apprehended an infinitely greater fulness in the meaning of these promises then is seen by the heart of unbelief. And why should he not make the inference he does?--for he says: "Ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty." Certainly the inference which the Apostle draws in the first verse of the next chapter, or rather the exhortation or command, as it may be regarded, to avail ourselves of the provisions, and "perfect holiness in the fear of God;" is eminently reasonable. And yet unbelief sees no satisfactory reason, either in these or in all the promises of the Bible, to warrant the conclusion, that as a matter of fact any such state is attainable in this life.

Hear that spiritual minded woman converse with her minister, of the great fulness there is in Christ. While she speaks in general terms he consents to all she says, that there is indeed unspeakable and infinite fulness in Christ. But where does she see this fulness? Why, in the scripture declarations and promises of God's word. Now let her begin to quote them one after another as she understands them, and he will probably demur to her views of every one of them, and consider her notions as utterly extravagant, and perhaps fanatical. He consents in general to the fulness that is in Christ, but explains away in the detail, all the evidence of that fulness as apprehended by a spiritual mind. The truth is, that a spiritual mind, and a spiritual mind only, understands the real meaning of the Bible. And nothing is more common than for persons in a state of unbelief to read again and again, any and every passage in the Bible, without apprehending the real meaning of the Holy Spirit. And a man in this state of mind has, as a matter of fact, never begun to understand the fulness there is in Jesus Christ, nor the depth and extent of meaning in the declarations and promises of the Bible.

10. Stumbling at difficulties, is another manifestation of unbelief. There is a large class of minds that seem not to be under the influence of evidence, especially upon those subjects that in any way clash with their own interests. However weighty the evidence may be, the suggestion of the least difficulty is to them an insurmountable stumbling-block, and the shadow of an objection seems to bring them to a dead stand in regard to all progress in reform, and to give them right over to the dominion of appetite, lust, and every form of selfishness. They are eagle-eyed in discovering an objection, and seem not to have the faculty at all to answer and remove objections. A slight objection or difficulty is a sufficient reason even for their resisting the evidence of miracles. Even demonstration itself, does not in such cases seem to move their hearts. If an answer to their difficulty be suggested to them, they heed it not but for a moment, for perhaps the next hour, or the next day, you will find them still hanging up their doubts, upon their old and perhaps often answered objections, and going stubbornly on in their sins. This is a most guilty and abominable state of mind. With what odiousness did it manifest itself among the Jews, when neither the life, nor the doctrine, nor the miracles, nor the death, nor the resurrection of Christ, could convince them. Certain preconceived notions of what Christ would be--certain false and absurd interpretations of prophecy in regard to Him, were sufficient objections in their minds to break the power of all the evidence with which Christ brought forth the demonstration of His Messiahship.

It is often amazing and distressing to see how unbelief will paralize the power of testimony in favor of truth, insomuch that no weight or accumulation of evidence can gain ascendancy over the intellect and the heart in the presence of objections oftentimes the most ridiculous.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1840 paragraph 474 452 Lectures X. & XI. Unbelief- No.'s 1 & 2 ...

Witness his conduct also in offering up Isaac as a burnt sacrifice. Here is another beautiful illustration of the power of faith as contrasted with unbelief. After a long time his beloved Isaac was born, who also was to be the father of many nations, through whom the promised Messiah was to come. But previously to his being the father of any offspring, God commanded Abraham to offer him as a burnt sacrifice. Now so unshaken was his confidence, that he appears not to have felt the least uneasiness about the event. Feeling probably that it might stagger Sarah's faith, he appears not to have communicated it to her, but rose up calmly in the morning, after the command was given, and proceeded to the spot, with the wood and necessary implements, manifestly expecting really to offer him according to the command of God. And in fact, as far as the mental act was concerned, he really did offer him, and is so represented in the Bible: "By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called: accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure."

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1840 paragraph 485 452 Lectures X. & XI. Unbelief- No.'s 1 & 2 ...

18. All pleading the promises of God without this inward, felt, unwavering assurance of mind, where the promise is plain and the application just, is an instance of unbelief. When Paul prayed against the thorn in the flesh, he had no express promise that that thorn should be removed. He was not therefore bound to believe that it would be. So Christ had no express promise that His agony in the garden should be removed. In neither of these cases did perfect faith in God, imply the belief that the particular things requested would be granted. But had there been an express promise in either or both of these cases, they both would have had the right, and been under an obligation to exercise the most unwavering assurance, that the specific blessing promised should be granted. It should be understood, therefore, that in pleading the promises of God, with a just apprehension and understanding of them, every state of mind is unbelief that falls short of the most unwavering assurance, that the thing promised shall be granted, according to the true tenor and meaning of the promise. All uneasiness of mind in regard to the event--all unhappiness through fear, that it will not be granted--every thing short of the utmost repose of mind in the veracity of God, is God-dishonoring unbelief. Suppose a student should receive letters from his father, containing the strongest assurances, that he would supply all his wants, giving him the fullest liberty to draw on him at any time for any amount he needed; and suppose it were well known that his father's fortune was very ample, and there could be no doubt of his ability to fulfill his promises; and suppose that his father's promises were backed up by oaths and the most abundant assurances that could be expressed in words: and now suppose this student is seen to be full of anxiety and carefulness about his support; laying his plans and making arrangements to help himself, entirely independent of his father's aid. It would be manifest at once, that he had no confidence in his father's assurances. Every body would infer at once, that however rich his father might be, no confidence could be placed in his veracity. Every one might say, "You see how it is. This young man is acquainted with his father. We have seen his letters. We know what abundant promises he has given, and yet as a matter of fact, his son has not a particle of confidence in these assurances." The inference of a want of integrity in his father would be natural and certain.

Now, Christian, did you ever consider how horrible your conduct is in the eyes of an unbelieving world. They know what promises your Father has made, and they see by your anxiety and worldly-mindedness how little confidence you have in these promises. They witness your carefulness and worldly spirit, and think in their hearts, these Christians know that God is not to be trusted, for as a matter of fact they have no confidence in His promises. Now how can you in any way more deeply wound religion, than in this--more awfully and horribly dishonor God? It is a most shameful publishing, in the most impressive manner possible, that you believe God to be a liar!

19. Not realizing that Christ died for you in particular, is another development of unbelief. The Apostle says, that "Christ tasted death for every man." Now what state of mind is that which does not realize and feel assured, that He died for you? There is a great deal of complaining in the Church, that individuals cannot feel as if Christ died for them in particular. If He died for every man, He died for you as an individual, and every want of realizing and feeling the inward assurance of this is unbelief. It is the mind's hiding itself in the darkness of its own selfishness. You believe that he died for all men--that "He tasted death for every man;" but cannot make it seem as if He died for you. Thus you parry obligation, and hide away from realizing that your sins nailed him to the cross, and that your soul is guilty of His death, and that his love has rolled a mountain weight of responsibility upon you. It is time for you to realize that this is nothing but unbelief, and a virtual contradiction of the truth that "Christ tasted death for every man." No wonder your heart is not subdued. No wonder you are in bondage to your sins. No wonder your lusts and appetites have dominion over you, while you are so unbelieving as not to realize that what God has said is true.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1840 paragraph 486 452 Lectures X. & XI. Unbelief- No.'s 1 & 2 ...

20. All want of appropriating the truth, and promises, and warning of God, to yourself, is unbelief. There is a wonderful disposition in most professors of religion to mingle with the crowd, and to mix up their own sins, and wants, and every thing that regards themselves individually with the sins and wants of the Church at large. Now truth does no good in the world, only as it has its individual application. It sanctifies only when it is appropriated, taken home, and applied to the individual conscience and heart. Not to appropriate it to yourself, is like an individual invited to a feast with many others; but does not go himself, because the promise is general; or when he is there, does not eat himself, because the provision was made for all the guests. The grand reason why he should go as an individual, why he should partake personally without hesitation, is because the provision is general, and every one has a right and is expected to partake of course. How shocking it is that so many professors of religion let the provisions of the gospel lie before them, and all the promises of the Bible cluster around them, and yet because the provisions are so ample, and the promise is to everyone who will partake, they stand and look on, in their unbelief, and starve to death.

But I must defer the remaining heads of this discourse, till my next.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1840 paragraph 502 452 Lectures X. & XI. Unbelief- No.'s 1 & 2 ...

11. It is vastly unreasonable, not to feel an inward assurance that God's promises shall all be fulfilled. If I owed you a thousand dollars, you might have reason to feel insecure in regard to the payment, and should you come to me and say, I doubt your responsibility, I want to feel at rest upon the subject, and wish you to give me further security, this might be very reasonable. But will you ask further security of God? Who will underwrite for Him? Who or what can make His promises more secure? Would you have a warrantee deed of the Universe, a bond and mortgage, sealed, signed, and delivered, and registered in the court of heaven? Why all this you have and more too. For "God, willing more abundantly to show unto the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath: that by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us." And now do you say, why, I want to feel in my heart, the assurance that God will fulfill His promises to me. Feel in your heart! Do not the promise and oath of God make you feel in your heart that what He has said shall come to pass? What an infinitely unreasonable and abominable state of mind is this, that can complain of the want of a felt assurance, that the God of infinite truth will not lie? Why, what security can He give? Who can be His bail? Who, or what in the Universe can make His promise more certain?

But suppose you had the bond, and mortgage, and oath of the richest man in America, for a thousand dollars. Would not your neighbors consider you a mad man, if you did not feel in your heart that your debt was secure? Yes, you would be pronounced deranged by every court of law or equity in the land. I recollect to have heard of a case, where a man of wealth became a hypochondriac and made himself continually unhappy, lest himself and family should become paupers. His wealthy connections, to relieve his mind, offered to secure to him a large amount of money annually, for the support of his family. He replied, "that would be of no avail, that "riches would take to themselves wings," that he could put no confidence in any such security." Finally, a commission of lunacy was issued to secure his property, and he pronounced a lunatic, in view of these developments of mind. Now I do not hesitate to say, that his state of mind was almost the perfection of reason, when compared with the infinite unreasonableness and insanity of not feeling the utmost assurance that all the promises of God should be fulfilled. Why, what was there so very unreasonable in the conduct of this man? Why, he refused to trust in human security and responsibility, for the maintenance of his family. Now in one sense this might have been unreasonable, and the court may have done right in pronouncing him a lunatic or an unreasonable man. But if this is insanity, what state of mind is that which cannot confide in the testimony and oath of the infinite and ever blessed God of truth? Why, beloved, if God has promised to maintain your family--if He has told you, "trust in the Lord and do good, so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily shalt be fed"--if the infinitely faithful God has promised to circumcise your heart and the heart of your seed, to love the Lord your God with all your heart, and all your soul--if He has promised to "sanctify you wholly, spirit, soul, and body, and preserve you blameless"--is it not the widest departure from reason that can be conceived of, for you not to feel assured in your heart, that all this shall be done?

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1840 paragraph 537 452 Lectures X. & XI. Unbelief- No.'s 1 & 2 ...

3. The Church is robbed of its inheritance by unbelief. Inasmuch as the promises are conditioned upon faith, and cannot in their own nature be fulfilled where there is not faith, how immense is the evil of unbelief in the Church of God? Gospel rest and salvation lie before them in all their fulness, completeness of Christian character in Christ Jesus, and the sanctification of body, soul, and spirit, are proffered to them and urged with infinite sincerity upon them; but all are rejected through unbelief. Those who are unbelieving in regard to the fulness of Christ's salvation, take away the key of knowledge. They neither enter into gospel rest themselves, and those that would enter they hinder; especially is this true of those ministers who call in question the attainability of entire consecration to God in this life.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1840 paragraph 618 609 Lecture XIII. A Willing Mind Indispensable to a Right Understanding of Truth ...

God is unchangeable. What He does, or promises, or says at one time, He would do, or promise, or say, the circumstances being the same, at all times. Every thing that he does and says, is but a revelation of his character. He knows nothing of favoritism. His regards are always founded in the reason, and nature, and relations of things. He regards all beings and events according to their true nature, character, and relations. His providence, his threatenings, his law, gospel, and promises, only reveal so many great, unchangeable principles of his government. And as He never changes, as there is in Him "no variableness nor shadow of turning," we may rest with the utmost confidence in the fact, that both a promise and its condition, that all the promises with their conditions, are founded in, and are a revelation of the unalterable principles of His government; both the promise and the condition being founded in the nature and relations of things. And that He always holds Himself pledged to fulfill the same promises, under the same or similar circumstances, and upon the same conditions. These are irresistible inferences from his unchangeableness.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1840 paragraph 692 665 Lecture XIV. Death to Sin ...

And now if you would enter into this death to sin, you must be baptized with the Holy Spirit. If you would be baptized with the Holy Spirit, you must fasten upon the promises of Christ and take hold of them in faith, laying your whole soul open to receive His influences. Rest with the utmost confidence in His promise to give you of the "fountain of water of life freely." And when you have taken hold of His promise, be sure not to let go or let your confidence to be shaken until you feel a consciousness that "you are baptized into His death."

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1840 paragraph 912 875 Lecture XIX. Temptations Must Be Put Away ...

18. All the promises in regard to support under temptation and deliverance from it, are to be understood to be upon the condition that we avoid and put away all temptation as far as we possibly can. We often find promises to which no express condition is annexed, but where a condition is either plainly implied or expressed in some other part of the word of God. Take the promise in 1 Cor. 10:13: "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it." Here is a promise without any condition expressed with regard to deliverance from the power of temptation. But our text, is to be regarded as a condition annexed by Christ Himself to all promises of this stamp. And these passages together teach this doctrine, that we need not fall under the power of any temptation, that we cannot avoid or put away from us--that when we have gone the full length of sacrificing a right hand or a right eye, to be rid of temptation, that no unavoidable temptation shall come upon us, from which we shall not have grace to escape. And this is all that such promises can mean, when viewed in the light of the expressed or implied conditions of the gospel.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1840 paragraph 1065 1030 Lecture XXII. Weakness of Heart ...

8. It implies faith in the promises of God.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1840 paragraph 1144 1125 Lecture XXIV. Salvation Always Conditional ...

10. This confidence my be founded in the promises of God. We feel that we believe them. We know it at the time, with as much certainty as we know our own existence, and hence infer, and feel assured, that God will keep us for ever from falling under the power of temptation, and "preserve us faultless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ."

III. This confidence, whatever may be its foundation, cannot of itself secure the soul against falling into sin and hell.

1. Because, if it is founded in any thing naturally good in us, it is ill-founded of course.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1840 paragraph 1147 1125 Lecture XXIV. Salvation Always Conditional ...

4. If this confidence is based upon the promises of God, it will not render our perseverance unconditionally certain; because the promises of God are all conditioned upon our faith, and the right exercise of our own agency. This is a revealed principle under the government of God. Ezek. 18:21-29: "If the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die. All his transgressions that he hath committed, they shall not be mentioned unto him; in his righteousness that he hath done he shall live. Have I any pleasure at all, that the wicked should die? saith the Lord God; and not that he should return from his ways, and live? But when the righteous turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and doeth according to all the abominations that the wicked man doeth, shall he live? All his righteousness that he hath done shall not be mentioned: in his trespass that he hath trespassed, and in his sin that he hath sinned, in them shall he die. Yet ye say, The way of the Lord is not equal. Hear now, O house of Israel. Is not my way equal? Are not your ways unequal? When a righteous man turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and dieth in them; for his iniquity that he hath done, shall he die. Again, when the wicked man turneth away from his wickedness that he hath committed, and doeth that which is lawful and right, he shall save his soul alive. Because he considereth, and turneth away from all his transgressions that he hath committed, he shall surely live, he shall not die. Yet saith the house of Israel, The way of the Lord is not equal. O house of Israel, are not my ways equal? Are not your ways unequal?" Ezek. 33:12-16: "Thou son of man, say unto the children of thy people, The righteousness of the righteous shall not deliver him in the day of his transgression: as for the wickedness of the wicked, he shall not fall thereby in the day that he turneth from his wickedness; neither shall the righteous be able to live for his righteousness in the day that he sinneth. When I shall say to the righteous, that he shall surely live; if he trust in his own righteousness, and commit iniquity, all his righteousness shall not be remembered; but for his iniquity that he hath committed, he shall die for it. Again, when I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; if he turn from his sin, and do that which is lawful and right; if the wicked restore the pledge, give again that he hath robbed, walk in the statutes of life, without committing iniquity; he shall surely live, he shall not die. None of his sins that he hath committed, shall be mentioned unto him: he hath done that which is lawful and right; he shall surely live." Jer. 18:7-10: "At what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, and pull down, and to destroy it; if that nation against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them. And at what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to build, and to plant; if it do evil in my sight, that it obey not my voice, than I will repent of the good wherewith I said I would benefit them."

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1840 paragraph 1148 1125 Lecture XXIV. Salvation Always Conditional ...

5. Any confidence in the promises of God, either for sanctification or final salvation, that does not recognize this universal principle in the government of God, is ill-founded and vain; because God has revealed this as a universal principle of his government; and whether expressed or not, in connection with each promise, it is always implied. Overlooking this fact, has often made the promises "a stone of stumbling" to those to whom they were given.

IV. Continued watchfulness, and wakeful activity of soul, are indispensable to continued holiness and final salvation.

1. This is evident from the fact, that moral government is a government of motives, in opposition to a government of force. Moral beings are not and cannot be forced, in the exercise of their moral agency.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1840 paragraph 1179 1125 Lecture XXIV. Salvation Always Conditional ...

5. "Faring always," or "passing the time of our sojourning here with fear," as the Apostle commands, does not imply unbelief, and is not a sinful state of mind; because the promises of God are all conditional--and as the promises of sanctification are conditioned upon our own faith, and the promises of justification conditioned upon our sanctification, and as all is suspended upon the right use of the powers of moral agency which we possess, it behooves us to "fear always--to walk softly, to gird up the loins of our minds, to be sober, vigilant, and to run with patience the race set before us."

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1840 paragraph 1183 1125 Lecture XXIV. Salvation Always Conditional ...

Now the mistake in this case was, in overlooking the fact, that all the promises of Christ are, from their very nature conditioned upon the continued exercise of faith in us. Misunderstanding the promise, and leaving out of view the condition, was the foundation of the assumption, that Christ was pledged for your perseverance in holiness; and if you have fallen into sin the blame is your own. You expected of Christ what He has never promised, except upon a condition that you have not fulfilled.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1840 paragraph 1184 1125 Lecture XXIV. Salvation Always Conditional ...

To this view of the subject it has been objected, that if this is true, the promises of the gospel amount only to this, that Christ will keep us if we will keep ourselves. To this I answer:

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1840 paragraph 1186 1125 Lecture XXIV. Salvation Always Conditional ...

Take all temporal blessings. Who does not know that all the promises of daily bread, are so conditioned upon the use of indispensable means, as that they amount to this-- "I will feed him who will feed himself; I will take care of him who will take care of himself." Take all the promises that respect the things of this life, and the same will be found to be true. If God promises health, it is upon the condition, that we obey the laws of our physical existence; so that the promise amounts to this-- "I will keep him who will keep himself in health." If He promise to prolong our natural life, it is upon condition that we comply with the indispensable laws of life. So that the promise amounts to this-- "I will keep him alive who will keep himself alive."

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1841 paragraph 343 292 Lecture XXX. Entire Consecration a Condition of Discipleship ...

11. You see that whenever you go to pray for divine teaching, that this question must be distinctly before you, whether you so live in the fulfillment of the condition, that you have a right to ask for his instruction? Many persons live in selfishness. They are as conscious, that they do not live in a state of entire consecration, as they are that they live at all. And yet they continue to pray for divine teaching, as if they fulfilled the condition. Sometimes they deceive themselves, by thinking they are taught of Christ, when they are only amusing themselves with their own delusions, or following the suggestions of Satan. At other times they so often pray for divine teaching, with a consciousness that they do not receive it, as to become discouraged, and feel as if praying was of but very little use. They really doubt, whether the promises of Christ mean what they say. In all this they overlook the fact, that there is an express condition to these promises, although not in all cases immediately connected with them. Yet, in our text, and in multitudes of similar passages, it is expressed in the plainest language; with which they do not comply.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1841 paragraph 565 525 Lecture XXXIII. Conditions of Being Kept ...

2. What numerous blunders have been made by theological writers on the subject of faith. Some holding it to be a passive state of mind, thus confounding it with the perception of truth--others have confounded it with emotion, or a full assurance that the gospel or the promises are true--others still have made it voluntary only indirectly and have supposed it to have moral character only because it is indirectly produced by an act of the will, in directing the attention to the examination of the evidence. It seems to have been quite extensively understood to be synonymous with conviction of persuasion of mind that a thing is true. These and similar blunders upon this subject, have led so many Antinomians and heartless professors of religion to settle down upon the supposition that they are Christians, taking it for granted that they can have true faith, true love, and true repentance, and yet that these graces may exist without manifesting themselves in benevolent outward conduct. How infinitely important it is then to understand that repentance, faith, love, are all acts of the will, of choices; and must of necessity manifest themselves in a corresponding outward conduct. The love that constitutes religion is good willing, or benevolence, and not complacency in God or any other being. We are as entirely involuntary in the exercise of the love of complacency toward God, as we are in the exercise of complacency in any other object, that is to us naturally beautiful and lovely. So repentance is an act of the will, and does not consist at all in those emotions of sorrow that are often supposed to be repentance. Repentance, when properly considered, and resolved into its proper elements, is precisely synonymous with regeneration or a change from selfishness to benevolence. Sorrow for sin is a mere consequence, connected with repentance by a natural necessity just as complacency in God is with benevolence and faith. Whoever overlooks, therefore, in his own experience, or in his account or estimation of his character, the fact that all the Christian graces, properly so called, or all that in which there is true virtue, consist in acts of will, which must of course and of necessity manifest themselves in corresponding outward acts, will totally deceive himself.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1843 paragraph 333 309 Lecture VI. Putting on Christ ...

9. You must avail yourself of his exceeding great and precious promises. You must realize what the promises were given for; and that they were given for you personally. The Apostle Peter says--"Whereby are given unto us, exceeding great and precious promises, that, by these we might be partakers of the divine nature; having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust." The design of the promises, then, is, to beget in us a universal likeness to the Lord Jesus Christ. Now, a promise is good for nothing unless it be fulfilled. Ten thousand promises, of such a character, would be of no more use, than a book of checks given to a poor man, by Mr. Astor, which he carries about closed up, and never uses.

IV. Obligation to obey this command is universal.

1. By this, it is not intended, that all are to do exactly the same things which Christ did, for no one, is, in all respects, in the same circumstances. As circumstances vary, outward duties differ. Christ practiced celibacy; and, in the circumstances in which He was placed, this was his duty. But it never could be the duty of mankind, generally, to imitate Him in this particular, and in many other things.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1843 paragraph 472 413 Lecture VIII. What Attainments Christians May Reasonably Expect to Make in This Life ...

5. Suppose this promise had been read to those to whom it was given, how could they have believed it, on the theory that they were not to expect higher attainments in the future than they then witnessed. Why they would have said, the world never will be converted, because it never has been; and what would you reply to that? Suppose the same objection were made now, and it were said, it was not done in the days of the Apostles, nor at any time since, and are we to expect to accomplish what never has been done? Suppose farther, ministers were engaged in pointing back, to prove that the world can never be converted. Why, they would say, the Church never has converted the world, and therefore, it never will. You must be getting proud, if you think we shall do more than good men before us have done. And then, suppose they should go back, and hunt up all the fanaticism, and enthusiasm, and extravagancies of the Crusades, and other attempts to propagate the Christian religion, and instead of pointing out these evils, to guard the Church against similar ones in time to come, as they ought to do, they were doing it to prevent any attempts to convert the world now. What would be thought of all this? It would justly be regarded as ridiculous; and yet this is exactly the course adopted respecting the doctrine of sanctification. The fact, that the promises have not been considered as meaning so much, sufficiently accounts for the fact, that they have not been more generally realized in the experience of Christians.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1843 paragraph 567 526 Lecture X. Fulness There is in Christ ...

11. Many deceive themselves by saying--"I believe the promise but I don't believe I shall fulfill the condition." The truth is, believing the promise is fulfilling the condition. How many nullify the promises in this way. They say they believe that the promise would be fulfilled if they complied with the condition, but this they know they do not do, and have no confidence that they shall. And instead of blaming themselves for it, they really turn it into a virtue, by calling it self-distrust. Its real name is unbelief.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1843 paragraph 569 526 Lecture X. Fulness There is in Christ ...

13. There is no real difficulty in the fact that the promises are conditioned on faith. For faith in promise depends upon confidence in the general character of the promisor, and not to give full credit to the promise is to impeach the character of him who made it. Suppose a man of great wealth and veracity should make a promise with this condition, as indeed every promise necessarily implies it. Would there be any difficulty in the condition? Not the least. So long as we had confidence in his character, we should regard it as absurd to make a difficulty of the condition of faith. But if the man was known, or supposed to be unable or unwilling, or that his general character was bad, then truly the condition would be a stumbling block. Nay, to believe implicitly would be absurd and impossible.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1843 paragraph 636 624 Lecture XII. Unbelief ...

3. Generically, faith as distinguished from everything else, is confidence in God; but specifically, it is confidence in Christ, or in any fact, doctrine, promise, or threatening of the Bible. And I might add, in any truth whatever, historical, philosophical, or mathematical; or even in error. If it respects the promises of God, it is a confident assurance that they will be fulfilled. If it respects facts, it is confidence in the truthfulness of the fact. Unbelief is the opposite of this. It is a withholding of confidence from what God says; it is distrust; it is a refusal to commit or give up the mind to the influence of a truth or promise; it is a rejection of evidence. For example; take any of the facts recorded in the Bible. Unbelief, is a refusal to credit their truthfulness, or to allow them that influence which they deserve. For instance, look at the manner in which the Jews treated the miracles of Christ. Christ claimed to be the Messiah, and in attestation of his claim, performed many wonderful works. Here was evidence that He really was what He professed to be. If He had not furnished such evidence, it would not have been unbelief to reject his claim. He might have lived and died among them, without their incurring any guilt by rejecting Him. But the works which He performed, were such as ought to have secured the confidence of every beholder, and established his claim in every mind. But instead of yielding to the evidence thus presented, they stedfastly resisted Him, and ascribed his miracles to infernal agency; and it would seem, that their disposition to reject Him was so strong, that no amount of evidence which He could place before them, could overcome it. Now this was unbelief. We may apply the same principle to other things. Take, for example, the doctrine of Phrenology. If an individual really lacks evidence of its truth, it is not unbelief to reject it. On the contrary, to receive it without such evidence, would be mere credulity. But just as far as he has evidence of its truth, it is unbelief to refuse to treat it accordingly. So with the doctrines of the Second Advent. If an individual has not such evidence of their truth, as to answer the demands of his intelligence, it is not unbelief to reject them. But if he has such evidence, then to reject them is unbelief. We might apply the same principle to the doctrine of Sanctification, or any other doctrine whatever, whether true or false.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1843 paragraph 652 624 Lecture XII. Unbelief ...

1. We see what to think of those, who say they cannot realize that the promises will be fulfilled. Can't realize! Hark! Suppose your child should say, Pa, you promised to give me a New Year's present, but I can't realize that you will. You would say, my child, do you think I lie? Have I not given you my word, that I would give you a present? What higher evidence can men have than the solemn word and oath of God? What shall make it more sure? Who shall underwrite for Him? If what He has said does not satisfy you, He can give no security. Can't realize! Horrible!

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1844 paragraph 82 61 Lectures II. & III.The Eyes Opened to the Law of God- No.'s 1 & 2 ...

And here let me remark--it is unspeakable folly to stereotype religious opinions, as if men were of course to agree in all their views. A young convert just born into the kingdom, wishes to be admitted into the fold of the Good Shepherd. Well, the whole system of religious doctrine is read over. Do you subscribe to this? the whole of this? And then not a step farther may they go, at the peril of heresy. How strange it is that men should imagine that here can be such a thing as for Christians to be just alike in their views of religious truth. They may be alike as far as they go. They may each be correct, while one may be far in advance of his fellow. And as a new truth comes to view, it always sheds its light over all the rest, and modifies the form in which they appear. And while the Spirit continues to throw its light upon the sacred pages, we may expect to modify and enlarge, and in some degree change our view of truth. How absurd to nail down our system and say--There, never change more. I have heard persons reckon it a virtue that they had never changed their views of truth. But I ask, have such persons prayed the prayer of the Psalmist? Have their eyes been opened?

4. The Bible will become to us a new book. Converts say so, and with truth; but it is not true with them alone. Old men, men who have long known God, are made by their experience to say the same thing. A few years since I was laboring in a revival with an elderly minister, a man sixty years old. I shall never forget how that man would say to me time after time, with deep emotion--"I have a new Bible. How striking the promises are. It seems to me as though I had never read them before. So rich they are, so full, so precious!" Ah, yes! Nor is this a singular nor an uncommon case. In many, very many instances have persons who have long been Christians, thus found their Bible a new book, and growing fresh and new as it were every day. It has become so precious, so glorious, so sweet, they could, so to speak, devour it, as the hungry soul devours its needful food. In my own case, let me say, beloved, within the last year the Lord has given to me such views of the Bible, that I have found it difficult to realize that I had ever known before any thing thereof at all. Many a time have I cried out, as the light poured upon the truth--"Lord, I never knew this before,"--and I could scarcely for the time believe that I had ever seen the thing at all. I do not mean I had not, for I know I had before seen great beauties in the Bible, but the light was so great that the spots that before seemed bright, were now hidden in the added splendor, as stars are lost in the light of dawn. Whole trains of passages would crowd through my mind with such glory and freshness--passages which I had preached from again and again, would come in review under a light so new and striking, and with a meaning so full, that it would seem as though I had never known anything of them before, and the thoughts would crowd, and roll, and swell like an infinite tide, till it would appear as if I could preach and preach, and never be done preaching from almost any one of them.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1844 paragraph 186 170 Lecture V. Fearing the Lord and Walking in Darkness ...

4. Faith in such circumstances is the condition of subsequent divine manifestation. If you will read the Bible through with your eye on this point, I think you will find that faith, in the absence of divine manifestation is every where made the condition of that manifestation. Christ says, "If a man love me he will keep my words, and my Father will love him." Manifestation is conditioned upon obedience and faith in the absence thereof. These manifestations are to be obtained by us through faith in the promises while we are under the hidings of God's face, with no divine manifestation. Once more,

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1844 paragraph 187 170 Lecture V. Fearing the Lord and Walking in Darkness ...

5. That faith is the most valuable, which can trust God with the least divine manifestation. Abraham is called the "father of the faithful." Why? It will be well for us to consider what there was in Abraham's faith that give to him this honorable distinction.

Observe then, that God's manifestations to him were few and far between, only at distant intervals. There is no account of God's appearing to him but a few times in all his life. The fulfillment of the promises was long delayed. God said, "Get thee out from thy country and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will show thee, and I will make of thee a great nation." Abraham departed forthwith and went to Canaan, trusting in the promises of God. He is promised a land, yet he never to the day of his death, inherited a foot of the soil, but was obliged to buy a portion for a burying place for his family. God told him he would make of him a great nation, yet twenty-four years after, he had no child except Ishmael. Where then was the promise? God did not come. But Abraham held fast, he hoped against hope, and believed the naked word of God. By and by, when Abraham was past age, his son was born. And then after that, God commanded him to give up his son, the child of promise, to sacrifice him, to slay him with his own hand, to offer him a burnt offering upon the mountains. What was this? It is the child upon whose life hangs the truth of God's promise, from him the "great nation" is to arise, and now he is to be slain. God has contradicted his own promise, besides the requirement is surely and absolutely wrong. It was most prodigious, Isaac must die! A human sacrifice!! By the hand of his own father! To the God of mercy, can the thing be? But in the midst of all this darkness, for a strange thing indeed had come, in the midst of this darkness without and darkness within, he held fast, he set out to Mt. Moriah, said nothing to Sarah, this her only son was to be slain, told not his servant, but in the strength of his faith in God, he went on--the stern old man! He built the altar, and laid the wood, and then, he bound Isaac, and stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. No wonder the Lord said, "Now I know that thou fearest God." No wonder God declared to him, "Surely blessing I will bless thee and multiplying I will multiply thee for thou hast obeyed my voice." No wonder Abraham is placed at the head of the whole family of the faithful ones upon the earth. His faith was in the highest degree conspicuous. Consider the little light he had, the nature of the command, and see the touching and dreadful circumstances in which he stood and his faith and obedience are wonderful indeed. Well might Paul say of him, "he staggered not through unbelief." Great grace was upon Abraham.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1845 paragraph 296 269 Lectures VI. & VII.The Church Bound to Convert the World- No.'s 1 & 2 ...

11. There must be constant and prevailing prayer. Did God promise to enlarge His church and convert the world? He has annexed this condition; "Nevertheless for this will I yet be inquired of by the house of Israel to do it for them." There must be constant prayer. It must be the prayer of faith, of sympathy with God. It must be the effectual, fervent prayer--that wrestling agonizing travail of soul that has power with God. This must extend through the church. It must be universally diffused abroad, and prayer for the world's conversion instead of being confined almost entirely to the monthly concert, must be the labor and burden of every day. The church must take the world on her hands and upon her heart. The minister and the laymen and women, all classes and ages of Christians must really travail in birth for the world's conversion. It must absorb their whole attention; it must engross their thoughts, rouse up and set on fire their feelings, and pour itself out before God in a flood of agony before the world can be converted. Such prayer as is not commonly heard must be offered before this work can be done. We must have praying men and women, nay, the whole church must become a praying church, and be gathered around the mercy seat and lie on her face, and pour out her prayers with strong cryings and tears. This must be persevered in until they have come up to the full spirit and meaning of what God says, "Ye that make mention of the Lord, keep not silence, and give Him no rest until He make Jerusalem a praise in the earth." They must besiege the throne of grace with the promises in their hand. There must be a great lifting up of heart and soul and a thousand times ten thousand hearts must echo and echo, "Thy kingdom come, Thy kingdom come," until this comes to be the universal cry of the church, until the heart of the church militant heaves like a volcano, and the gospel is like a burning fire shut up in her bones, and the promises are to them stable as the everlasting mountains; until she can plant her feet on them and stand and never retreat a hand's-breadth till the work is done.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1845 paragraph 310 269 Lectures VI. & VII.The Church Bound to Convert the World- No.'s 1 & 2 ...

8. But again, the church as been discouraged. She has had so little faith that her efforts by way of missionary labor have accomplished comparatively little. Her success has no doubt equaled her faith, and perhaps surpassed it, but still she has been so unbelieving that comparatively little has been accomplished. Little can be accomplished until she will believe the promises of God.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1845 paragraph 648 632 Lecture XIV. The Folly of Refusing to be Saved ...

5. All the promises are given the sinner. God has given you all these exceeding great and precious promises that He may encourage and incite you to lay hold of everlasting life. They cover every want you have or can have, they come down to meet you just where you are, like a golden chain let down from the eternal throne to lift you out of the horrible pit, and raise you up to heaven. O, what promises! Surely such words could come from none but God! What a price are they! They are written pledges -- the express bonds of the government of God -- government bonds, sinner, enough to insure you the infinite riches of the treasury of Jehovah, yet they are laid at your feet -- a price put into your hands to get wisdom.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1846 paragraph 281 273 Lecture V. Forfeiting Birth-Right Blessings ...

Now it can not be doubted that Esau understood all the important points involved in this legacy of promised blessings. He knew what his birthright included; he must have known the promises made and renewed so solemnly to his grandfather Abraham and his father Isaac. He also doubtless understood the tenor on which these promises were to descend to him in connection with his birthright. And yet the history shows us how he took a course which forfeited them all. Returning at one time from the hunting field, faint with fatigue and hunger, he said to Jacob--"Feed me I pray thee, with that red pottage." Jacob said, "Sell me this day thy birthright." Esau said, "Behold I am at the point to die, and what profit shall this birthright be to me?" And Jacob said, "Swear unto me this day; and he sware unto him: and he sold his birthright unto Jacob."

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1846 paragraph 455 396 Lecture VII. On Becoming Acquainted With God ...

6. Another result would be moral courage. Unbelief is always the secret of moral cowardice. Persons who have not much faith are forever stumbling on the point of obeying God. They dare not trust God to take care of them in the path of straight forward obedience. They dare not face public sentiment--as if they feared it would ruin them, despite of the promises of God in their behalf. They are afraid of the censures of the church or of the world, their faith in God being so weak, and their apprehensions of God being so dim that they practically fear man more than God. Hence they cringe, shuffle, dodge, evade, shrink away from self-denying duty, afraid to take a simple-minded honest course, and trust God to bear them safely, nay triumphantly through.

Faith always cures this state of mind. It strikes at once at its very root.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1846 paragraph 471 396 Lecture VII. On Becoming Acquainted With God ...

Again, there will result a great use of the promises of God.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1846 paragraph 472 396 Lecture VII. On Becoming Acquainted With God ...

To one who has no faith, the promises lie in the Bible as unused as if they were never made for use. They are in fact of no more avail to such a person than if they were made for angels and not at all applicable to sinning mortals. But as you become acquainted with God, you see that these promises are given to be used, and you feel that they are indeed your own.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1846 paragraph 473 396 Lecture VII. On Becoming Acquainted With God ...

Father Carpenter used often to cry out--"Lord, what are the promises good for, unless they are to be kept?" It was with him a living reality that God had given us these exceeding great and precious promises for our use, and that we should keep them bright as it were by constant use, and never let them get rusty. They were given us to live upon and to work upon, and if we mean to live or to work we must use them.

10. Another result will be great and constant sympathy with God in all His purposes and doings. As we know God more, we shall be charmed more and more with His plans and ways and shall feel ourselves more and more identified with all His interests. This will operate powerfully to transform us into His glorious image.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1846 paragraph 612 574 Lecture IX. Coming to The Waters of Life ...

Mark how beautifully and impressively He taught this. See Him in front of that lofty temple and in the presence of that vast triumphant procession as they move slowly along. He waits till the priest has brought forward the golden vessel of water from Siloam's pool and poured it forth at the foot of the altar, He stands by in silence till the ceremony is completed, and then He lifts up His voice before the assembled nation and cries aloud, Ho, ho, all ye people of Israel, ho, all ye children of the promises and covenants of the Lord, "If any man thirst, let him come unto Me and drink." With Me are the waters of real life. "He that believeth on Me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water."

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1847 paragraph 177 116 Lectures III. & IV.Heart Condemnation, A Proof that God Also Condemns-- and An Approving Heart, Confidence in Prayer- No.'s 1 & 2 ...

I mention this now as another proof of the wonderful readiness of our Father in heaven to hear and answer prayer. O what love is this! To what shall I compare it, and how shall I give you any adequate view of its amazing fullness and strength? Think of a vast body of water, pent up and suspended high above our heads, pressing and pressing at every crevice to find an outlet where it may gush forth. Suppose the bottom of the vast Pacific should heave and pour its ocean tides over all the continents of the earth. This might illustrate the vast overflowings of the love of God; how grace and love are mounting up far and infinitely above all the mountains of your sins. Yes, let the deep, broad Pacific ocean be elevated on high and there pent up, and then conceive of its pressure. How it would force its way and pour out its gushing floods wherever the least channel might be opened! And you would not need to fear that your little wants would drain it dry! O, No! you would understand how there might be enough and to spare,--how it might be said--"Open thy mouth wide and I will fill it;" how the promises might read--"Bring ye all the tithes into my store house, and prove me now herewith, if I will not open you the windows of heaven and pour you out blessings till there be not room enough to receive them." The great oceans of divine love are never drained dry. Let Christians but bring in their tithes and make ready their vessels to receive, and then, having fulfilled the conditions, they may "stand still and see the salvation of God." O how those mountain floods of mercy run over and pour themselves all abroad till every capacity of the soul is filled! O how your little vessels will run over and run over--as in the case of the prophet when the widow's vessels were all full and he cried out--O hasten, hasten--"is there not another vessel?" Still the oil flows on--is there not another vessel? No more, she says; all are full; then and only then was the flowing oil stayed. How often have I thought of this in seasons of great revival, when Christians really get into a praying frame, and God seems to give them everything they ask for; until at length the prophet cries out--Is there not yet another vessel? O bring more vessels, more vessels yet, for still the oil is flowing and still runs over;--but ah, the church has reached the limit of her expectation--she has provided no more vessels;--and the heavenly current is stayed. Infinite love can bless no more; for faith is lacking to prepare for, and receive it.

REMARKS.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1847 paragraph 228 198 Lectures V. & VI. & VII.Conditions of Prevailing Prayer- No.'s 1 & 2 & 3 ...

But if any person should suppose that a case of this sort involves all that is included in prevailing prayer, he mistakes greatly. In prevailing prayer, a child of God comes before him with real faith in his promises and asks for things agreeable to his will, assured of being heard according to the true intent of the promises; and thus coming to God he prevails with him, and really influences God to do what otherwise he would not do by any means. That is, prayer truly secures from God the bestowment of the blessing sought. Nothing less than this corresponds either with the promises of scripture, or with its recorded facts in respect to the answers made to prevailing prayer.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1847 paragraph 232 198 Lectures V. & VI. & VII.Conditions of Prevailing Prayer- No.'s 1 & 2 & 3 ...

Again, God may hear the mere cry of distress and speedily send help. He "hears the young ravens when they cry," and the young lion too when they roar and seek their meat from God. The storm-tossed mariners also, "at their wit's end, cry unto the Lord in their trouble, and he bringeth them out of their distress." His benevolence leads him to do all this, wherever he can without detriment to the interests of his government. Yet this case seems not to come under the promises made to believing prayer. These cases of distress often occur in the experience of wicked men. Yet sometimes God seems obviously to hear their cry. He has wise reasons for doing so; probably often his object is to open their eyes to see their own Father, and to touch their hearts with a sense of their ingratitude in their rebellion against such a God.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1847 paragraph 240 198 Lectures V. & VI. & VII.Conditions of Prevailing Prayer- No.'s 1 & 2 & 3 ...

Our great enquiry now has respect to this class of prayers, namely, those which God has solemnly promised to answer. Attached to the promises made respecting this class of prayers are certain conditions. These being fulfilled, God holds himself bound to answer the prayer according to the letter and spirit both, if they both correspond; or if they do not correspond, then He will answer according to the spirit of the prayer. This is evermore the meaning of his promise. His promise to answer prayer on certain conditions is a pledge at least to meet it in its true spirit, and do or give what the spirit of the prayer implies.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1847 paragraph 299 198 Lectures V. & VI. & VII.Conditions of Prevailing Prayer- No.'s 1 & 2 & 3 ...

Surely, nothing is more plain than that this prayer recognizes most fully the universal providence of that same infinite Father who gives us the promises and who invites us to plead them for obtaining all the blessings we can ever need.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1848 paragraph 281 221 Lecture IV. Conditions of Being Saved ...

To be saved you must come into a state of mind in which you will ask no higher joy than to do God's pleasure. This alone will be forever enough to fill your cup to overflowing.

6. You must have all confidence in Christ, or you cannot be saved. You must absolutely believe in Him--believe all his words of promise. They were given you to be believed, and unless you believe them, they can do you no good at all. So far from helping you without you exercise[sic.] faith in them, they will only aggravate your guilt for unbelief. God would be believed when He speaks in love to lost sinners. He gave them these "exceeding great and precious promises, that they by faith in them, might escape the corruption that is in the world through lust." But thousands of professors of religion know not how to use these promises, and as to them or any profitable use they make, the promises might as well have been written on the sands of the sea.

Sinners too, will go down to hell in unbroken masses, unless they believe and take hold of God by faith in his promise. O, his awful wrath is out against them! And He says--"I would go through them, I would burn them up together; or let him take hold of my strength, that he may make peace with me, and he shall make peace with me." Yes, let him stir up himself and take hold of my arm, strong to save, and then he may make peace with me. Do you ask how take hold? By faith. Yes, by faith; believe his words and take hold; take hold of his strong arm and swing right out over hell, and don't be afraid any more than if there were no hell.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1848 paragraph 302 221 Lecture IV. Conditions of Being Saved ...

The promises were made to be believed, and belong to any one who will believe them. They reach forth their precious words to all, and whoever will may take them as his own. Now will you believe that the Father has given you eternal life? This is the fact declared;--will you believe it?

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1849 paragraph 693 636 Lecture XIV. Faith the Work of God ...

9. Others stumble through a partial faith. They do not embrace all the gospel. They seem to understand only a little of it. Hence their faith does not embrace Christ as a Savior from sin, present and future. They fail to embrace the fulness of the promises of gospel salvation, and go on ever more stumbling for the want of a fuller and larger view of gospel truth.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1850 paragraph 12 8 Lecture I. The Foundation, Conditions, And Relations Of Faith ...

The passage in Genesis 15, refers to Abraham--to the promises God had made to him--to his faith in those promises, and to the Lord's acceptance of that faith. These topics are first brought to our view in Genesis 12, again in Gen. 17, and thenceforward frequently in the course of Abraham's history. The case was highly instructive, and St. Paul could not fail to see its important bearings. Hence the free use he makes of it as an illustration, both of what faith, and of its results.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1852 paragraph 458 437 Lecture IX. Paul and Felix, Or Preaching and Procrastination ...

1. It is worthy of notice that the inspired teachers always assume the true philosophy of mind, and hence the true way of teaching it and controlling its decisions. True, the Bible does not intend to teach mental philosophy in a scientific way, nor indeed in any direct way yet by inference the Bible does teach mental science most clearly and most fully. If any man will give his mind to this subject and ask--"What does this command imply as true in regard to the mental constitution of those to whom it is addressed?" he cannot fail to arrive at the correct answer. He must see that a command imposed by a good Being, implies the possession of power to obey it. So let him take up also the promises and put the same question, asking, what is assumed to be the moral state of those to whom such promises, are addressed? There can be but one answer, and that will reveal just principles of mental science. See how Paul approached and appealed to this heathen man. Did he assume that this heathen had a conscience before which he could make and lodge his appeal? Most clearly he did, and acted promptly upon this assumption. He knew that however dark his mind might be as to revealed religion, or how ever sophisticated by false reasoning, it would still cry out, Amen, AMEN, whenever God's truth came clearly before his intelligence.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1853 paragraph 80 70 Lecture II. Men Invited to Reason Together With God ...

2. The invitation, coupled with the promises annexed, implies that there are good and sufficient reasons why God should forgive the penitent. Hence the case is fair for practical results. The way is open for salvation. Sinners may so present their reasons before God as to ensure success.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1858 paragraph 143 126 Lecture IV. Sufficient Grace ...

3. When we have thoroughly renounced our self-dependence and are emptied of pride, it is impossible that we should not accept Christ and sympathize with His promise of help, saying -- "Most gladly will I rather glory in my weakness that the power of Christ may rest on me." When one is really crucified to self, it is easy to commit all to Christ and become lost in Him. Then you will rejoice in His promise and rest in His strength. No longer chafed with restless fears, you sit calmly trustful in His power to save. If the winds blow, let out more cable. So the mariners do. They know when the wind is high, it raises the vessel, and she lifts her anchor and loosens its hold. Then they let on more cable and let the anchor sink down deeper among the rocks, and give the ship no chance to lift it from its hold. So let your faith go down deeper and grasp the rock of the promises more firmly. But do you cry out -- The shore is near! -- I am afraid! No, no; never fear. Let out your cable! Give Providence a chance. Let the Lord have room to come in His glory for your relief.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1858 paragraph 515 488 Lecture XIII. Abiding In Christ And Not Sinning ...

3. In the case of one who truly abides in Christ in the exercise of a living, active faith, to sin--to disobey God--involves a contradiction in terms. To say that one sins while in the exercise of faith and of love, is absurd. Thus the Bible testifies:--"If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature"--not merely ought to be, but is. So throughout the Bible. I know not one passage, descriptive of being in Christ, which does not imply living without sin. If it were otherwise--if faith in Christ for salvation from sin left the soul yet in sin, then is faith in Christ a failure; for being in Christ by faith has for its special object, victory over sin. And faith is declared to be that which gives the victory over the world. (1 John 5:4)

VI. Hence when we sin, we are no longer in Christ, but out of Christ.

1. This is implied in the text, and it equally follows from the very nature of being in him.

I am often amazed that people should think they have faith when they have not even so much as conviction of the great truths pertaining to Christ. To be in Christ, men must not only know and feel those truths, but they must receive them to their hearts in love.

2. Faith holds on upon the sustaining arm of Jesus. Thus holding fast, you are sustained. It is only when you let go that you fall. Then you lose his protection, you fail of his support and lose his power. If while you are in vital union with Christ, you sin, then of course he has failed to keep you. The remedy of God's own providing against sin proves unreliable. Reverting to my own experience some years since, there was a long time in which I could see my difficulty. I thought I had faith, but I could see many things in myself that were all wrong--all selfish. My mind became exceedingly exercised and anxious; I could not live so. I even began to question whether I had not misunderstood the Bible by giving its promises too much meaning. I was anxious lest I had overstrained the promises and thereby had come to expect more than God ever intended to grant. I became greatly straitened in my soul until at length I said before the Lord most solemnly--"If thou hast done all for me that is provided in the gospel for thy people, then I am disappointed. I expected more. The gospel has not saved me from sin."

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1861 paragraph 552 514 Lecture IX. Looking To Jesus ...

Many people seem intent upon reasoning themselves out of their faith by queries about what Jesus is able to do. But many who admit His ability, after all do not contemplate and thoroughly recognize His willingness to do exceeding abundantly for us above all that we ask or think. We need to consider the history of Christ, the promises of Jesus, the whole character of Jesus, in order to be fully satisfied of His willingness to give us grace equal to our day.

 

 


HEART OF THE TRUTH - ON THEOLOGY, LECTURE 7 - INSPIRATION OF THE BIBLE paragraph 49 INSPIRATION OF THE BIBLE. What is not implied in the inspiration of the bible; What is implied; How a question of this kind cannot be proved; How it can be proved; The Bible an inspired Book; Objections answered.

1. By referring to the promises of Christ, when He first sent the Apostles forth to publish his religion. Matthew 10:19,20: "But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak; for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you."

 

 


HEART OF THE TRUTH - ON THEOLOGY, LECTURE 7 - INSPIRATION OF THE BIBLE paragraph 79 INSPIRATION OF THE BIBLE. What is not implied in the inspiration of the bible; What is implied; How a question of this kind cannot be proved; How it can be proved; The Bible an inspired Book; Objections answered.

I. Objection. It is objected that Mark and Luke were not Apostles, and therefore the promises of inspiration and of miraculous power, did not extend to them.

 

 


HEART OF THE TRUTH - ON THEOLOGY, LECTURE 35 - THE ATONEMENT paragraph 27 Its Intention; The Atonement necessary.

19. An Atonement was needed, to inspire confidence in the offers and promises of pardon, and in all the promises of God to man.

 

 


FROM THE PENNY PULPIT, SERMON 2 - PLEASING GOD. paragraph 40

(3.) But, let me say again: that without this testimony you cannot use the promises. How many times have I heard persons say, if I knew that I was accepted of God, how gladly would I apply to myself such and such promises, but they are meant for the children of God, and I do not know whether I am a child of God or no. O that I did but know that I was a child of God, and I would claim all the promises as mine own. Perhaps this is the language of some of you. Now, the promises may lie in the Bible, and the Bible may rot upon your shelves, and you make no use of them, because you lack the testimony that they belong to you--because you do not know whether you are children of God.

 

 


FROM THE PENNY PULPIT, SERMON 7 - THE PROMISES OF GOD. paragraph 0
THE PROMISES OF GOD This lecture was typed in by Bob Wynn.

 

 


FROM THE PENNY PULPIT, SERMON 7 - THE PROMISES OF GOD. paragraph 1

THE PROMISES OF GOD

 

 


FROM THE PENNY PULPIT, SERMON 7 - THE PROMISES OF GOD. paragraph 10

III. THE USE OF THE PROMISES OF GOD.

 

 


FROM THE PENNY PULPIT, SERMON 7 - THE PROMISES OF GOD. paragraph 13

(2.) Many of the promises are of a general character, which when you desire and believingly pray for, you shall receive. Persons may appropriate these promises under certain circumstances to themselves. General promises are ordinarily rendered available to us, as needed by us--when we pray for them understanding what we mean--by the Holy Spirit of God leading us to lay hold and appropriate them to ourselves as promises meant for us.

 

 


FROM THE PENNY PULPIT, SERMON 7 - THE PROMISES OF GOD. paragraph 14

(3.) Promises are made to classes of persons also--it is remarkable to what an extent this is true. There are special promises made to magistrates, ministers, fathers, mothers, widows, orphans--to all classes of persons. There are also promises made to persons in various states of mind, such as "Come unto me all ye that weary and are heavy laden and I will give you rest." With respect to these, I observe, that when we have ascertained to what class we belong, we may understand that God has promised these things to us by name--for instance, "Come unto me all ye that weary," if we can say that we belong to that class we may understand the promise, "I will give thee rest," as given to us as truly as if it had been first revealed to us, or made for us alone, just the same as if God had called us by name and told us to come to him. The same with respect to widows and orphans who may appropriate the promises belonging to them without any hesitation, just as if they had for the time been revealed to them by name--it is of great importance for all persons to understand this. I shall have occasion in another part of my discourse briefly to allude to this thought again.

 

 


FROM THE PENNY PULPIT, SERMON 7 - THE PROMISES OF GOD. paragraph 15

(4.) The promises are made in and through and for Christ--they are all made for a governmental valuable consideration paid by Christ. Let me explain myself. God has in an important sense given the world to Christ, and he is represented as having all fullness in him. As Christ became the Redeemer of mankind, God has given him "all power in heaven and in earth," to govern it by the use of those means and appliances that are essential to secure the great end he has in view: Christ having, as I said, paid for it a governmental valuable consideration. Let me not be misunderstood: He has done that by which he has made a perfect satisfaction to the government of God. God's law had been violated, its justice, its equity, and its propriety had been publicly denied and trampled upon by mankind--the majesty of this law must be vindicated, the government of God demanded this--it was unsafe and also unjust for man to be forgiven unless the majesty of the law was asserted. Those who had broken the law could not be forgiven consistently with the rest of the universe, for the law that had been broken was public property--every moral agent in the universe was interested in the vindication of this law; the strength and efficiency, the power and the glory, should by no means be impaired--for the safety of the universe depended upon its being preserved.

 

 


FROM THE PENNY PULPIT, SERMON 7 - THE PROMISES OF GOD. paragraph 16

Now Christ came forth and publicly vindicated the honor of this law, by paying over to the government of God an equivalent for the offenses and sins which man had committed; he suffered the penalty in order that the guilty might be pardoned. Christ, I say, offered to the government of God an equivalent for the execution of the law upon the offender; and, in consequence of what he has done, God has promised to bless those who deserved cursing. Now observe, that all the promises of God are represented as being to Christ, and as being in Him; yea, and in him, amen, to the glory of God the Father. Christ magnified the law and made it honorable, so that it consisted with the honor of this law and the justice of God that sinners--rebels against his government--should through Christ be pardoned their offenses. Let it always be understood, friends, that these promises are, in the spirit of them, really made to Christ and to Christ's people, to those whom he regards as part of himself, those for whom he came into the world, and those for whom he died.

 

 


FROM THE PENNY PULPIT, SERMON 7 - THE PROMISES OF GOD. paragraph 17

(5.) The promises are, therefore, to be considered something in the light of certificates of deposit: as if Christ had made the deposit for us, and allowed us to present our drafts--these promises--and to take away that which God has promised to give, and for which he has received from Christ, a valuable consideration. We may regard, then, these promises as drafts or checks which we take and present, and in return receive of the great blessings which God has promised by him, and through him, and on his account.

 

 


FROM THE PENNY PULPIT, SERMON 7 - THE PROMISES OF GOD. paragraph 18

(6.) Again: with respect to the promises, many of them were made in the time of Old Testament Saints, not for their immediate use, the drafts were not due, but to be believed and pleaded at a future period. Anyone who will take the trouble to examine the Bible in this respect will find this to be the fact, that many of the promises were not in the present tense, but referred to the advent of the Messiah, and were to become due after his appearing. Turn, if you please, to the 31st chapter of the Book of Jeremiah, and read the 31st to the 34th verse. "Behold the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand, to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they break, although I was an husband unto them, saith the Lord: but this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more." This promise was made to the church, and of course to each individual member of the church: which was not to be pleaded at the time it was given, but which became due at a future period. The apostle who wrote the Epistle to the Hebrews, quotes this promise from Jeremiah, and says that the day had come for its fulfillment. It was made to be believed in its relation to a future time, and the age of the gospel was the time at which it was to be believed. All these promises are to be regarded as due in this sense--their fulfillment may be expected in our own days.

 

 


FROM THE PENNY PULPIT, SERMON 7 - THE PROMISES OF GOD. paragraph 20

(7.) Again: with respect to the promises, they have their letter and their spirit. Many of the promises under the Old Testament dispensation seem to refer chiefly to temporal blessings, but only in the letter; for these promises, as applied in the New Testament, have a deep spiritual meaning. The promises of the Old Testament very commonly speak of worldly prosperity as the reward of the righteous, when, as it appears from the way in which they are applied in the New Testament, a great deal more than mere worldly prosperity and advancement was really meant --spiritual blessings, great and abundant, were really in the spirit of these promises, crouched under language that seemed to promise temporal prosperity only.

 

 


FROM THE PENNY PULPIT, SERMON 7 - THE PROMISES OF GOD. paragraph 21

(8.) Let me say again, that many of the promises of the Old Testament were made to the Jews--the children of Israel--as if Israelites alone had been meant: whereas the New Testament abundantly shows us, that these promises had a very much larger sense--that they also applied to the Gentiles--and to the church under the Protestant--the Christian--dispensation. For example, the promise I have just quoted from Jeremiah, "I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah." Now this promise was more extensive in its application than was at first supposed--it referred to both Jews and Gentiles--to all the spiritual Israel of God, in all ages future from the age in which it was first spoken.

 

 


FROM THE PENNY PULPIT, SERMON 7 - THE PROMISES OF GOD. paragraph 22

(9.) Again: I remark, that where promises are made to the church, persons should not overlook the fact that they are also applicable to particular individual members of the church. Sometime since, conversing with a brother minister in respect to the promises, he said, that he did not know of any particular promises made to parents on behalf of their children. I quoted some of them, such as, "My Spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed's seed, saith the Lord, from henceforth and for ever." Again: "I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring, and they shall spring up as among the grass, as willows by the water courses." But, said the minister, these were made to the church and not to individuals. Well, but brother, I replied, of what worth are they to the church if they are not meant for individual members of the church? If they are meant for the church in general, they must be meant for every member in particular. Did God intend to trifle with men? He gave promises to his church to be sure, but not that any individual member of that church should avail himself of the same. This is a mistake, brethren. God's promises are made to all His children, and to every one of them in particular, we must not lose ourselves in the mass. The feeling is too much abroad among Christians, that God's promises are made to everybody in general, but to nobody in particular. Very much of this I have found as I have for many years been passing from place to place. Because the promises are made to masses and classes, they are thought not to be available to particular individuals. How would this be in any other case? Suppose, for example, a great famine was in this city, that the people had no provisions; and, suppose that the government should issue a proclamation to all persons who were hungry and needy, telling them that they might, by applying at a certain place, secure provisions to supply their wants; now suppose the proclamation was general in its character, do you think that any individual who was starving would hesitate to go to the store, because the invitation was to everybody, and not addressed to particular individuals? No, indeed. Every individual who was in want, would say, I may go, because I belong to the class intended. Now if people fail to understand these promises, they may lay and rot in the Bible, and never be of any use to them. How many parents have unconverted children and unruly children, because they neglect to avail themselves of the promises of God.

 

 


FROM THE PENNY PULPIT, SERMON 7 - THE PROMISES OF GOD. paragraph 23

(10.) The promises made to the Patriarchs, Abraham, for instance, have a letter and a spirit; they were intended principally to apply to the children of Israel, but now they apply to all, whether Jews or Gentiles. I might make a great many other similar remarks, but must proceed to notice

 

 


FROM THE PENNY PULPIT, SERMON 7 - THE PROMISES OF GOD. paragraph 27

(3.) Again: We are informed that faith in His promises is a condition of their fulfillment, that no man need expect to receive anything of the Lord, unless he asks in faith--this is one of the principles of the government of God: we must ask for those things which we need, and we must ask for them in faith; for it is of little use that we pray without this. God has said that unless we pray in faith we shall not have the blessing. In all the promises of God this is implied as a condition on which we are to receive them--again and again we are told, without faith, it is in vain for us to expect the fulfillment of His promises.

 

 


FROM THE PENNY PULPIT, SERMON 7 - THE PROMISES OF GOD. paragraph 31

(1.) I observe, that in using the promises regard is always to be had to the attributes of the promiser. His ability is infinite, and his willingness is also infinite--these things are always to be taken into account. Now if human beings promise us any thing, in ever such strong language, we are at liberty to doubt whether we shall ever possess the things promised, having in view the capacity of the promiser. Thus you see we must interpret promises made to us in the light of the attributes of him who promises. It is very common for men in very strong language to promise that which we do not expect them to perform, and which indeed they cannot. Suppose a physician says that he will restore his patient to perfect health: it would be unfair to understand him to mean literally what he says. If the physician recover the patient from the disease under which he is laboring, and restore him to comfortable health, it is all that can be expected of him. But whatever promise God makes he is perfectly able to perform it. We are always, therefore, to have respect to the attributes of him who makes the promise.

 

 


FROM THE PENNY PULPIT, SERMON 7 - THE PROMISES OF GOD. paragraph 32

(2.) Again: We are to have respect to his relations to us, and our relations to him. The promises of a father to a child may be construed much more liberally than if they were made to a stranger in whom he had no particular interest, and to whom he sustained no relation.

 

 


FROM THE PENNY PULPIT, SERMON 7 - THE PROMISES OF GOD. paragraph 34

If God give so great a blessing shall he withhold the less? No, surely no! In indulging such a thought we do him wrong and we do ourselves wrong; we must not overlook these facts as the highest possible evidence that all the promises are made in good faith; and God's infinite readiness to give the things that He has promised. It might have appeared incredible if God had told us beforehand that He would give Christ to die for us. It would have appeared wonderful! We should have exclaimed, can it be possible? Infidels not think it impossible. What! God give His co-equal Son to die for us? We cannot believe it! Now Christians understand it and believe it; and certainly since he has done this, we should look at this fact--never leave it out of view, when we come to the promises. All unbelief should vanish when we remember that "when we were enemies Christ died for us," and shall we not recognize in this fact, that He is willing, freely, largely, bountifully, to give us all other things that we want. By this gift of his Son, God has confirmed to us the promises stronger than he could have done by an unsupported oath.

 

 


FROM THE PENNY PULPIT, SERMON 7 - THE PROMISES OF GOD. paragraph 37

(6.) We must not forget to construe the language of the promises as meaning as much as the language used in commands. For example, when it is said (Deut. XXX. 6.) "And the Lord thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live," we are to understand this promise as covering as much ground as a command. We are to construe the language in the promises just the same as the language used in the commands. We are not to suppose that language found in commands is to be stretched to the utmost; but when found in the promises to be regarded as not meaning so much. Now it is common in the church, both in writing and in printing, and in conversation, to construe language when used in command, in its widest sense. "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength," is made to mean all it can possibly imply--mind I do not find fault with this, for I suppose it is to be so construed--but when the same language is to be found in the promises it is construed to mean much less than the language really implies.

 

 


FROM THE PENNY PULPIT, SERMON 7 - THE PROMISES OF GOD. paragraph 39

(7.) Again: we should in using the promises, always remember to fulfil the conditions on which they are promised to be granted. If we plead the promises of God, and do not fulfil their conditions, we tempt God: for example, suppose you were to plead the promise that God would forgive sin on the condition of repentance, and you were impenitent and did not repent, why you tempt God. Suppose a cold-hearted professor of religion should plead that promise in respect to backsliders, when they return from their backsliding, and should expect to be forgiven while he continues to go on in worldly-mindedness, why he would be tempting God. Fulfil the conditions first and then plead the promises.

 

 


FROM THE PENNY PULPIT, SERMON 7 - THE PROMISES OF GOD. paragraph 41

(9.) Again: The promises were made to be used--they were made to be used by God's children, by all who will believe them and appropriate them. They were not made to lay concealed in a gilt-edged Bible, but to be read, understood, and used. The fact is, the Bible is like a book of checks put into the hands of the needy, and we are to use them when we want anything: thus God has given promises to every class and description of persons; and these promises were given not to be hoarded up, but to be used--we are to draw liberally and freely upon the divine bounty for all the blessings that we need. I became acquainted with one of the most remarkable men that ever I knew in the city of New York: he was forty-five years old, a farmer, and an unlettered man. After his conversion, he had remarkable faith and confidence in God. He sold his farm and took his wife--he had no children--and traveled through various parts of the country, preaching the gospel and laboring to promote revivals of religion. He was a man of very humble talents, yet wherever he went there was always a revival of religion in consequence of his labors. This man labored in New Jersey in a most remarkably successful manner. After many years he called upon me in the City of New York: after spending a little while in conversation, he proposed to pray: we knelt down together, and he prayed like a little child, "Our Father, thou hast given us great and precious promises, but what are they good for, unless they are to be believed;" and so he went on just like a little child, and really it was so perfectly apparent that he believed all the promises, that I never forget the impression which his great faith made upon my mind. I could at once comprehend the secret of all his great usefulness: he had such confidence in God's promises, he realized to such an extent that God had made all His promises in good faith, and on purpose to be used by His children, and he availed himself of them with all freedom and with all boldness. He came to God, as a child would come to its father, fully believing that God would fulfil all His promises--this was the secret of his usefulness.

 

 


FROM THE PENNY PULPIT, SERMON 7 - THE PROMISES OF GOD. paragraph 43

(9.) In the next place, in using the promises we should never forget that they are given to us in Christ, because he paid for them a governmental valuable consideration, and we therefore have a gracious title to them. Don't let me be misunderstood. We had no demand upon God anything, because we had forfeited His favor by our sins: but it has pleased God to make certain gracious promises to us in regard to what Christ has done, and in him given us a gracious title to them; therefore, we can claim them, not in our own name but in the name of Christ. I love to take this view of the promises of God, that if I am his child, they are all pledged to me in Christ Jesus.

 

 


FROM THE PENNY PULPIT, SERMON 7 - THE PROMISES OF GOD. paragraph 44

(10.) Again: the promises are available to us, if we will only comply with the simple condition of believing, and if we will plead them in the name and for the sake of Christ.

 

 


FROM THE PENNY PULPIT, SERMON 7 - THE PROMISES OF GOD. paragraph 48

(1.) It is very important to notice the manner in which Christ and his apostles quoted the promises of the Old Testament. Take your reference Bibles when you read the New Testament, and see how the promises of the Old Testament were quoted by inspired writers, they will enable you to judge much more properly of the real intention and meaning of the promises of God; you will thus be able to see the promises in their fullness, and spiritual application.

 

 


FROM THE PENNY PULPIT, SERMON 7 - THE PROMISES OF GOD. paragraph 49

(2.) The promises of God are valued by persons in proportion as they know themselves; they ask proportion to the sense of their wants.

 

 


FROM THE PENNY PULPIT, SERMON 7 - THE PROMISES OF GOD. paragraph 52

(5.) If Christians would at once believe, and apply the promises, meet God on the ground that He has promised to meet them, they would find in their own experience how much value there is in prayer, and how powerfully they can prevail with God. They would find that there was a cheerfulness and willingness on God's part to meet them at every point. Many individuals plead the promises without fulfilling their conditions, and then they lose their faith in the promises, because they are not fulfilled in their experiences. The reason of this is because they have not fulfilled the required conditions. I have no doubt but it is a common thing for men to pray themselves out of all confidence in prayer, because they fail to fulfil the conditions on which God has promised them. How general is it that we find professors of religion have but very little confidence in prayer; and why is this? Because they have come to regard prayer as a duty, rather than as something that can prevail with God. Brethren, if you would enjoy communion with God, and prevail with Him, you must look upon prayer as something more than a duty. You must take hold of prayer, as a sure instrument by which you can move God's hand, His arm, and His heart, and then you will do it. Amen.

 

 


FROM THE PENNY PULPIT, SERMON 13 - MAKING GOD A LIAR. paragraph 17

III. In what sense unbelief makes God a liar. It is said in the text, "he that believeth not God, hath made him a liar." Withholding of confidence, is a practical denial that God is worthy of confidence. Now, there is nothing more unreasonable in the universe, than unbelief. God has so constituted men, that, by a necessary law of their minds, they affirm that he will not lie. Nobody ever believed that God would lie; everybody knows better, every intelligent being in earth, hell, or heaven, knows that God will not lie; and yet, wherever an individual withholds confidence in God, it in a practical denial of his trustworthiness, a practical denial of what reason and conscience affirm must be true. This is one of the most provoking forms of sin of which Moral agents can be guilty. There is nothing more provoking, even to the greatest liars themselves, than to have their veracity called in question. What an infinitely awful sin it must be to make God a liar!! But it is also injurious to yourselves, and ruinous to society. Why, who does not know that if a wife should withhold confidence from her husband, she would ruin herself and her husband too? And so, if a husband withholds confidence in his wife, he ruins his own happiness and that of his wife too. Suppose that confidence is withheld, without good reason, by a husband from his wife, how it ruins her happiness, what a trial it is for her to endure! Suppose that the husband reproaches the wife with having committed some wrong, and withholds his confidence; and, suppose the children lose confidence in her, how can she manage to govern them? What wrong is done to the family! Probably the family would be ruined. Destroy confidence in a government, and, unless it be very strong, and thus enabled to keep the people in awe, that government will very soon be ruined. So with business transactions. The world has to live by confidence. In each other, There is no community whatever that is not ruined, if unbelief, want of confidence, comes to be the law of action. Withholding confidence when there is no reason, is the greatest crime a man can commit against society, or the family. Everybody must admit this. You often find persons tremblingly, quiveringly, alive to their own reputation for veracity, who withhold confidence from God. Some people, who call themselves Christians, too, fail to realise the truth of God so as to confide fully in him. God has said " all things shall work together for good to them that love God," but a great many persons have no belief in this! They don't rest in God's words, and they are always in trouble, distress, and tribulation, because of their unbelief. Now, if you should see a man standing on a mountain of granite in the greatest trouble and anguish, lest the rock should not be strong enough to hold him. Why you would say the man is deranged, his conduct would be, in a high degree, ridiculous. Now, the people of God are infinitely more ridiculous, when they withhold confidence in God, than the man on a mountain of granite, fearing it might fall. God's promises are infinitely more able to support them than mountains of granite! The strongest rocks in creation are but mere air when compared with the stupendous strength and stability of the promises of Jehovah ! Heaven and earth shall pass away, but the word of the Lord shall stand fast for ever. Again: it is the most blasphemous of all forms of sin. Let any man publicly accuse God of lying, and the law of the land would lay hands on him. He would be indicted for blasphemy. Suppose a man should go through the streets of London, proclaiming aloud that God was a liar, you would very soon find him in Newgate, and he would deserve to be there. If any man should go through the streets, proclaiming that God was a liar, everybody would say it was the most revolting species of blasphemy; they would stop their ears and run, in order to get away from him. Nobody would dare to walk in the same street with him, lest a thunderbolt should descend and destroy him, or the earth open, and swallow him up. Now, many a man, if his conduct were put into words, and he should speak them, would be indicted for blasphemy. Again: let me say unbelief accuses God of perjury. God has sworn the greatest oath that he could think of, in confirmation of his truth. " Because he could sware by no greater, he aware by himself." He confirmed his promise "by two immutable things in which it was impossible for God to lie." Now, mark! Unbelief accuses God of lying under an oath! --of lying under the greatest oath that God could take! Suppose a man should, in words, accuse God of perjury--that he had not only lied, but sworn to a lie! We have now to advert, in the next place, to--

 

 


FROM THE PENNY PULPIT, SERMON 13 - MAKING GOD A LIAR. paragraph 18

IV. Some of its manifestations and results. First, a want of rest to the soul. Now, when the soul does not rest on the promises of God--does not believe that " all things shall work together for good to them that love God"--the soul has no rest in Christ, does not embrace Christ, does not rest in his faithfulness and in his promises. Now, my hearers, let me put one question to you--Are you guilty of unbelief? If so, you are the very persons that are charged with making God a liar! Again: another manifestation of unbelief is want of peace. There is always peace and joy in believing. Now, the want of peace is an evidence of unbelief. The fact is, that where there is real faith, although there may be much to disturb and distress the mind, there is deep peace and joy in God, in the midst of it all; but where persons have not peace, real joy, and great satisfaction in God, in his truth, and in his promises, you may know that there is unbelief there. From the very nature of the case, there must be. The mind cannot be reposing in the promises of God, if it has not peace and joy. Again: when persons have not power in prayer--when they have no faith in prayer, to prevail with God. In the Bible, we are told that those who have faith, have power with God, and can prevail with God, and receive the spirit of their petitions. Now, let me ask you, my hearers, if you have this confidence, this faith which makes you mighty in prayer; or, do you want this power in prayer? If the latter, then you are guilty of unbelief. Now, one of two things must be true, if these things are wanting in your soul,--if you have no confidence in the promises, no peace of mind, and no power in prayer,--either the Bible is not true, or you do not believe the Bible; because the Bible affirms that these things are true of them that believe.

 

 


FROM THE PENNY PULPIT, SERMON 13 - MAKING GOD A LIAR. paragraph 20

I remark again: a spirit of worldly-mindedness is an evidence of unbelief. I mean that state in which the mind is given up to worldly pursuits and amusements, that minding earthly things of which the apostle speaks--living the mind up to them, giving the chief attention to them, and being chiefly influenced by worldly considerations. Now, mark! This is the very opposite of a state of faith, which, from its very nature, precludes this state of mind. If you find that your mind is worldly, that you are engrossed with worldly things, you may be sure that you have no faith. Can you pray with the world in your mind? Can you go to the sanctuary with business engrossing your thoughts? Can you receive God's truth into your mind, if it is given up to other influences? It is naturally impossible for you to serve God and the world! If you are worldly-minded, I say, it is an evidence of unbelief! And unbelief, remember, virtually charges God with being a liar; and the man who is an unbeliever has the hardihood to say, in conduct, though not in words, that God is a perjured being, that he lies under an oath! But let me say again: the spirit of cowardice is an evidence of unbelief. Those people who believe God are not afraid of anybody. Spiritual cowardice is always the result of unbelief. Confidence in God makes the righteous strong as lions. Now, if you are spiritual cowards; if you are afraid to talk to sinners about their souls; if you are afraid to hold up the light, it is because you do not believe. Again: neglect of the Bible is also a manifestation of unbelief. Nobody neglects the Bible who believes it. Again: neglect to use the promises of the Bible--not pleading them in order to receive their fulfillment--is a sure indication of unbelief. Again: a spirit of indifference in regard to the state of religion, blindness in regard to the state of sinners, no compassion for them, a want of interest in their conversion, are certain indications of unbelief; and I might point out hundreds of others. But let me ask, who of us are guilty of unbelief? If I am guilty of unbelief, I am the very wretch that stands before you, and makes God a liar! If you are guilty of unbelief, you are the wretches who stand before God, and accuse him of being a liar! Horrible! Horrible! But is it not true? Does not everybody know, that if a man withholds confidence from God, it is because he regards God as unworthy of confidence; and if unworthy of confidence, it must be that he is not a true being, but a liar! I will now make a very few remarks, in the next place, onV.

 

 


FROM THE PENNY PULPIT, SERMON 17 - THE USE AND PREVALENCE OF CHRIST'S NAME. paragraph 32

     We must remember, too, that for God to give anything to the inhabitants of this world, as such, without Christ, would be inconsistent with his position. God promises things to Christ, who distributes them to his children; all the promises are in Christ to the glory of God, and we must recognise this if we would use Christ's name aright, and expect the fulfilment of the promises made through him. These promises are all yea and amen in Christ Jesus. God is infinitely sincere in giving them to Christ, who receives them and gives them to men. They are given in the utmost good faith, so that coming in his name it is, "Yes, yes; as often as you please, if you really come in Christ's name, you may approach me with the utmost confidence and boldness--not impudence, but boldness." We are infinitely welcome. There need be no hesitation. You are thoroughly welcome to as much as you want, only be sure you come meaning what you ought to mean in the use of Christ's name.

 

 


FROM THE PENNY PULPIT, SERMON 23 - SEEKING HONOUR FROM MEN. paragraph 18

First, that which constitutes the faith of the gospel is the heart or the will committing itself to the truth which the intellect perceives--yielding the whole will up to it, so as to be influenced by it. Observe, then, there are properly in faith the following things:--First, there is an intellectual perception, a realizing that the thing is true; then there is the mind committing itself to the truth, or embracing it, or yielding itself up to the truth, to be molded and governed by it. It is in fact, the mind's coming into sympathy with, and partly yielding itself up to, and embracing the truth so perceived. Let me illustrate this if I can. Sometimes you see persons convinced of a thing they do not will to be convinced of for some reason or other. It is often found that when certain truths are pressed upon an individual, he is unwilling to believe. For example, there is a man who has a sick wife; he sees that she is pale and haggard, he perceives her sunken cheek, and hears her hollow cough, and he fears that she may be in a consumption; he is unwilling, however, to believe it, and tries to flatter himself that her lungs are not affected, and perhaps the doctor tells him that it is a nervous complaint and not a consumption. But day after day he sees the hectic flush of the face and the clear and burning eye, and all the other symptoms of consumption. By-and-bye the physician says, "I must give her up, she is in a consumption; I am satisfied that she can live but a little while." Now, mark! Suppose the man does not recognize the hand of God in this event; he now sees the naked reality, it stands out plainly before him; in a few days or weeks he will be without a wife, and his children without a mother--ah, what an agony that is; he has not such confidence in God as to be able to see the hand of God in the affliction; he has no such confidence that he can yield up his little ones without any misgiving to his heavenly Father. The reality has at length come upon him; his intellect must yield; his wife must die; his children must be left without a mother; and he himself must go about alone. But to all this his will does not consent; he is dissatisfied with the order of providence; he is disposed to murmur, and is in agony when he realizes the fact that his wife must die. If you tell him that in all this, God is acting wisely, his intellect will admit that all the actions of God are both wise and good, but his heart does not admit it, his will does not receive it. See the difference between faith and a mere intellectual conviction. Take the Bible and show him the promises of God, bring before him evidences of the goodness of God, of the universal care that God exercises over all his creation; "I know it!" he says, "I know it!" but how he agonizes and smarts under it. But he becomes a converted man. You left him last night in the greatest distress; but you see him this morning, and he meets you with a smile. You ask after his welfare?--Oh, he never was better. You inquire how his wife is?--Oh, the Lord is going to take her home. There is a great change. He says now, "I have no wish nor desire but that God's perfect will should be done." He can now embrace the fact with his heart; he sees in it the hand of his Father and Savior; he can yield up his mind to the dispensation without a murmur. Now, this is faith in the particular providence of God.

 

 


FROM THE PENNY PULPIT, SERMON 32 - A PUBLIC PROFESSION OF CHRIST. paragraph 28

Once more: a public profession of religion is the way to have the evidence of acceptance with God. How can you expect to realize the promises without a public committal of yourself to Christ? It is faith that inherits the promises and not unbelief. The fact is that many persons are waiting for evidences that they are accepted of God, while they are unwilling to obey him. Further: a great many persons who have had a clear hope in Christ have put off making a public profession until they have grieved the spirit and brought darkness over their own mind. The path was once clear, but they neglected it, and now, mark! they will in all probability die in that darkness, or be obliged to make a public profession of religion before God will restore to them the light which they seek. I have known a great many cases of persons waiting for light, but have not obtained it till they have made up their minds to obey God; and when they have done this then light has come.

 

 


FROM THE PENNY PULPIT, SERMON 41 - THE REWARD OF FERVENT PRAYER. paragraph 25

I have often thought of the magnitude of unbelief. The unbelief of many is so great that they entirely overlook the secret depths of meaning that the promises of God contain, and they stumble at some of the plainest things in the Bible.

 

 


FROM THE PENNY PULPIT, SERMON 41 - THE REWARD OF FERVENT PRAYER. paragraph 58

Now, brethren, does this appear extravagant? If so, it is because you do not consider the power of the promises of God and what the churches are able to effect in His name. The guilt and the weakness of the Church is her unbelief. This is so great that she does not expect to do much. We must now conclude with a few remarks.

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 18 - Attributes of Love paragraph 14 Efficiency . . Penitence . . Faith . . Complacency

     10. Another characteristic or attribute of benevolence is Faith. Evangelical faith is by no means, as some have supposed, a phenomenon of the intelligence. The term, however, is often used to express states both of the sensibility and of the intellect. Conviction, or a strong perception of truth, such as banishes doubt, is, in common language, called faith or belief, and this without any reference to the state of the will, whether it embraces or resists the truth perceived. But, certainly, this conviction cannot be evangelical faith. In this belief, there is no virtue; it is essentially but the faith of devils. The term is often used, in common language, to express a mere feeling of assurance, or confidence. Faith, to be a virtue, must be a phenomenon of the will. It must be an attribute of benevolence or love. Faith, as an attribute of benevolence, is that quality that inclines it to trust in veracity and truth as the necessary condition of securing the good of being. It is a first truth, that truth, and obedience to truth, are conditions of the good of being. Hence, in the very act of becoming benevolent, the will embraces and commits itself to truth. The reason also affirms the veracity of God. Hence, in becoming benevolent, the mind commits itself to the veracity of God. Benevolence, be it remembered, is an intelligent choice, in obedience to the law of God. Of course its very nature implies confidence in God. Such is its nature that it will, of course, embrace and be influenced by the revealed will of God, and receive this revealed will as law, in all its efforts to secure its end. This quality reveals itself in specific acts. There is an important distinction between faith, as an attribute of benevolence, and faith as a volition, or special act. The first is the cause of the last. Faith, as an attribute, is a quality that belongs to the nature of benevolence. This quality reveals itself in particular acts, or in embracing and committing itself to the testimony and will of God, in resting in the promises and declarations of God, and in the word and work of Christ. It trusts in God, this is its nature. As has been said, in the very act of becoming benevolent, the mind commits itself to truth, and to the God of truth. It obeys the law of the intellect in the act of choosing the good of being, as an ultimate end. The intellect affirms the veracity of God, and the relations of this veracity and of truth to the good of being. Hence confidence in God belongs to the very nature of benevolence. As confidence in God is an attribute of benevolence, it will, of course, employ the intellect to ascertain the truth and will of God, and put forth appropriate expressions of confidence, in specific acts, as new truths shall be discovered. Particular acts of confidence in God, or in others, or in particular truths, are executive acts, and efforts to secure the end of benevolence. It also implies that state of the sensibility which is called faith. Both the state of the intellect and the state of the sensibility just expressed are implied in faith, though neither of them makes any part of it. Faith always begets a realizing state of the sensibility. The intellect sees the truth clearly, and the sensibility feels it deeply, in proportion to the strength of the intellectual perception. But the clearest possible perception, and the deepest possible felt assurance of the truth, may consist with a state of the utmost opposition of the will to truth. But this cannot be trust, confidence, faith. The damned in hell, no doubt, see the truth clearly, and have a feeling of the utmost assurance of the truth of Christianity, but they have no faith.

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 34 - Atonement. paragraph 67 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

     I will next quote some passages to show, that, if sinners were to be saved at all, it must be through an atonement. "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved."--Acts iv. 12. "Be it known unto you therefore men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses." Acts xiii. 38, 39. "Now we know, that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law; that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore, by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin." Rom. iii. 19, 20. "Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain."--Gal. ii. 16, 21. "For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith. And the law is not of faith: but the man that doeth them shall live in them. For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise. Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, until the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator. Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one. Is the law, then, against the promises of God? God forbid, for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law. Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith."--Gal. iii. 10-12, 18-21, 24. "And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission. It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these."

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 34 - Atonement. paragraph 96 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

     (vii.) An atonement was needed to inspire confidence in the offers and promises of pardon, and in all the promises of God to man. Guilty, selfish man finds it difficult, when thoroughly convicted of sin, to realize and believe, that God is actually sincere in his promises and offers of pardon and salvation. But whenever the soul can apprehend the reality of the atonement, it can then believe every offer and promise as the very thing to be expected from a being who could give his Son to die for enemies.

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 53 - The Notion of Inability. paragraph 17 Proper mode of accounting for it

     But, as I said in a former lecture, under the light of the gospel, and with the promises in our hands, God does require of us what we should be unable to do and be, but for these promises and this proffered assistance. Here is a real inability to do directly in our own strength all that is required of us, upon consideration of the proffered aid. We can only do it by strength imparted by the Holy Spirit. That is, we cannot know Christ, and avail ourselves of his offices and relations, and appropriate to our own souls his fulness, except as we are taught by the Holy Spirit. The thing immediately and directly required, is to receive the Holy Spirit by faith to be our teacher and guide, to take of Christ's and show it to us. This confidence we are able to exercise. Who ever really and intelligently affirmed that he had not power or ability to trust or confide in the promise and oath of God?

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 54 - Repentance and Impenitence. paragraph 37 What repentance is not, and what it is . . What is implied in it . . What impenitence is not . . What it is . . Some things that are implied in it . . Some evidences of it

     4. It implies faith or confidence in God in all things. It implies, not only the conviction that God is wholly right in all his controversy with sinners, but also that the heart has yielded to this conviction, and has come fully over to confide most implicitly in him in all respects, so that it can readily commit all interests for time and eternity to his hands. Repentance is a state of mind that implies the fullest confidence in all the promises and threatenings of God, and in the atonement and grace of Christ.

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 57 - Sanctification. paragraph 100 An account of the recent discussions that have been had on this subject

     So also the argument based on the promises of God involves fallacies of reasoning not less apparent. It is a glorious truth, that God has promised to all believers a final victory over sin, which undoubtedly will be accomplished at some period of their history. But does it follow then, because believers are to be perfectly sanctified at some time and somewhere, the present life will be the time and place of this perfect sanctification? Let a promise be adduced, if it can be, that fixes the period of this event to the present life. The divine promises, like the provisions of the gospel, are conditioned as to the degree of their results, by appropriative acts on the part of the believer. Hence the fallacy of the argument is apparent, in that it takes for granted that some believers in the present life do fully comply with all the conditions contemplated in the promises themselves. Without this assumption it proves nothing. Besides, it is not to be forgotten that the promises are general, addressed alike to all believers; and hence the rules of reasoning by which they are made to prove the perfect sanctification of some Christians in the present life, equally prove that of all in every period of time, past, present, and future. The argument from promises has no relation to, or limitation by, any specific time. But two alternatives seem to be possible; either the reasoning must be abandoned as not valid, or we must admit that every regenerated man is sinless, and that too from the moment of his conversion.

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 57 - Sanctification. paragraph 159 An account of the recent discussions that have been had on this subject

     'It is a glorious truth, that God has promised to all believers a final victory over sin, which undoubtedly will be accomplished in some period of their history. But does it follow, that because believers are to be perfectly sanctified at sometime and somewhere, the present life will be the time and place of this perfect sanctification? Let a promise be adduced, if it can be, that fixes the period of this event to the present life. The divine promises, like the provisions of the gospel, are conditioned as to the degree of their results, by appropriative acts on the part of the believer. Hence, the fallacy of the argument is apparent, in that it takes for granted that some believers in the present life do fully comply with all the conditions contemplated in the promises themselves. Without this assumption it proves nothing.'

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 57 - Sanctification. paragraph 160 An account of the recent discussions that have been had on this subject

     In the first part of this paragraph, you deny that God, anywhere in the Bible, promises a state of entire sanctification in this life, and request that one promise be adduced, that fixes this event to the present life. And then you seem immediately to admit that the blessing is promised, on the condition of 'appropriative acts on the part of the believer.' This you must intend to admit, inasmuch as you have before admitted, that 'should a believer avail himself of all the resources of the gospel, he might make this attainment.' Certainly you will not pretend to have any authority for such an admission, unless the promises when fairly interpreted do proffer such a state to Christians upon condition of 'appropriative acts.' How shall we understand such a denial and admission at the same breath, as this paragraph contains?

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 59 - Sanctification (Part 3) paragraph 12 Entire sanctification is attainable in this life

     It is easy to see, that this question can be settled only by a reference to the word of God. And here it is of fundamental importance, that we understand the rules by which scripture declarations and promises are to be interpreted. I have already given several rules, in the light of which we have endeavoured to interpret the meaning of the law. (See Lecture XVI. I.) I will now state several plain common-sense rules, by which the promises are to be interpreted. The question, in regard to the rules of biblical interpretation, is fundamental to all religious inquiries. Until the church are agreed to interpret the scriptures in accordance with certain fixed and undeniable principles, they can never be agreed in regard to what the Bible teaches. I have often been amazed at the total disregard of all sober rules of biblical interpretation. On the one hand, the threatenings, and on the other the promises, are either thrown away, or made to mean something entirely different from that which was intended by the Spirit of God. At present I will only mention a few plain, common-sense, and self-evident rules for the interpretation of the promises. In the light of these, we may be able to settle the inquiry before us, viz., whether the provisions of grace are such as to render entire and permanent sanctification in this life an object of reasonable pursuit.

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 59 - Sanctification (Part 3) paragraph 28 Entire sanctification is attainable in this life

     (13.) I have said, we are to interpret the language of law so as to consist with natural justice. I now say, that we are to interpret the language of the promises so as to consist with the known greatness, resources, goodness, bountifulness, relations, design, happiness, and glory of the promisor.

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 59 - Sanctification (Part 3) paragraph 33 Entire sanctification is attainable in this life

     (18.) Another rule of interpreting and applying the promises, which has been extensively overlooked, is this, that the promises are all "yea and amen in Christ Jesus." They are all founded upon great and immutable principles of God's government, and expressive of them. God is no respecter of persons. He knows nothing of favouritism. But when he makes a promise, he reveals a principle of universal application to all persons in like circumstances. Therefore, the promises are not restricted, in their application, to the individual or individuals to whom they were first given, but may be claimed by all persons in similar circumstances. And what God is at one time, he always is. What he has promised at one time or to one person, he promises at all times, to all persons, under similar circumstances. That this is a correct view of the subject, is manifest from the manner in which the New Testament writers understood and applied the promises of the Old Testament. Let any person, with a reference Bible, read the New Testament with a design to understand how its writers applied the promises of the Old Testament, and he will see this principle brought out in all its fulness. The promises made to Adam, Noah, Abraham, the patriarchs, and to the inspired men of every age, together with the promises made to the church, and indeed all the promises of spiritual blessings--it is true of them all that what God has said and promised once, he always says and promises, to all persons, and at all times, and in all places, where the circumstances are similar.

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 59 - Sanctification (Part 3) paragraph 35 Entire sanctification is attainable in this life

     (1.) All the promises of sanctification in the Bible, from their very nature, necessarily imply the exercise of our own agency in receiving the thing promised. As sanctification consists in the right exercise of our own agency, or in obedience to the law of God, a promise of sanctification must necessarily be conditioned upon the exercise of faith in the promise. And its fulfilment implies the exercise of our own powers in receiving it.

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 60 - Sanctification (Part 4) paragraph 63 Bible argument

     Having examined a few of the promises in proof of the position, that a state of entire sanctification is attainable in this life, I will now proceed to mention other considerations, in support of this doctrine.

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 68 - Sanctification (Part 12) paragraph 11 Objections answered

     4. Is it rational for Christians to hope that they shall pursue it, and shall perseveringly set their hearts upon it? Is it rational for Christians to hope, that they shall so endeavour to attain it, as to fulfil the conditions of the promises wherein it is pledged?

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 68 - Sanctification (Part 12) paragraph 49 Objections answered

     (2.) That this attainment is provided for in the promises of the gospel; that is, that the promises of the gospel proffer grace to every believer sufficient to secure him against sin in all the future, on condition that he will believe and appropriate them.

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 68 - Sanctification (Part 12) paragraph 60 Objections answered

     (5.) The principles assumed and lying at the foundation of this objection must, if sound, prove the gospel a delusion. If it is true, that by no present act of faith we can secure to us the present or the future fulfilment of the promise of entire sanctification, I see not why this is not equally true in respect to all the promises. If there is no such connexion between our present and future faith and obedience, as to render it even in the least degree probable, that the promises of persevering grace shall be vouchsafed to us, then what is the gospel but a delusion? Where is the ground of a rational hope of salvation? But suppose it should be replied to this, that in respect to other promises, and especially in respect to promises of salvation and of sufficient grace to secure our salvation, there is such a connexion between present faith and future faith and salvation, as to render the latter at least probable, and as therefore to afford a rational ground of hope of perseverance, in such a sense as to secure salvation; but that this is not the case with the promises of entire sanctification. Should this be alleged, I call for proof. Observe, I admit the connexion contended for as just stated between present faith and obedience, and future perseverance, and final salvation, that the former renders the latter at least probable; but I also contend, that the same is true in respect to the promises of entire sanctification. Let the contrary be shown, if it can be. Let the principle be produced, if it can be, either from scripture or reason, that will settle and recognize the difference contended for, to wit, that present faith and obedience do lay a rational foundation of hope that we shall persevere to the end of life, in such a sense as that we shall be saved; and yet that present faith in the promises of entire sanctification does not render it in the least degree probable, that we shall ever receive the fulfilment of those promises. Let it be shown, if it can be, that the present belief of certain promises renders it certain or probable that they will be fulfilled to us, but that no such connexion obtains in respect to other promises. Let it be shown, if it can be, that present faith in the promises of perseverance and salvation renders it either certain or probable, that these promises will be fulfilled to us, while present faith in the promise of entire sanctification in this life, renders it neither certain, nor in the least degree probable, that these promises will ever, in this life, be fulfilled to us.

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 68 - Sanctification (Part 12) paragraph 62 Objections answered

     But, secondly, it would not follow, that they have all been wholly sanctified until at or near the close of life, because many of them have probably never understood and appropriated this and similar promises by faith, and consequently have failed to realize in their own experience their fulfilment, for any considerable length of time before their death. The exact question here is: If the soul at present apprehends, and lays hold on the promises of entire sanctification in this life, is there not as real and as certain a connexion between present faith and the future fulfilment of the promise, as there is between present faith in any other promises and the future fulfilment of those promises. If this is not so, let the contrary be shown, if it can be. The burden of proof lies on the objector. If to this any one should reply, that present faith in any promise does not sustain any such relation to the fulfilment of the promise, as to render it rational to hope for its fulfilment, I answer, that if this is so, then the gospel is a mere nullity and sheer nonsense. Nay, it is infinitely worse than nonsense.

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 68 - Sanctification (Part 12) paragraph 63 Objections answered

     I will not at present contend that present faith in any promise of future good sustains such a relation to its fulfilment, that its fulfilment to us is absolutely certain; but upon this I do insist, that present faith in any promise of God does render it at least in some degree probable, that the promise will be fulfilled to us; and that therefore we have ground of rational hope, when we are conscious of desiring a promised blessing, and of laying hold by faith upon the promise of it, and of setting our hearts upon obtaining it;--I say, when we are conscious of this state of mind in regard to any promised blessing, we have rational ground of hope that we shall receive the thing promised. And it matters not at all what the blessing promised is. If God has promised it, he is able to give it; and we have no right to say, that the nature of the thing promised forbids the rational expectation that we shall receive it. It is plain that the principle on which this objection is based amounts to a real denial of the gospel, and makes all the promises a mere nullity.

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 68 - Sanctification (Part 12) paragraph 65 Objections answered

     That grace has made no provisions for securing the fulfilment of the conditions of the promises. This must certainly be assumed in relation to the promises of entire sanctification in this life; that grace has made no such provisions as to render the fulfilment of the conditions of this class of promises in any degree probable; that the grace of God in Jesus Christ does not even afford the least degree of evidence, that real saints will ever in this life so believe those promises as to secure the blessing promised; that therefore it is irrational for the saints to hope, through any provisions of grace, to fulfil the conditions and secure the blessing promised; the grace of God is not sufficient for the saints, in the sense, that it is rational for them to hope so to believe the promises of entire sanctification, as to secure the thing promised. The gospel and the grace of God then are a complete failure, so far as the hope of living in this life without rebellion against God is concerned. His name is called Jesus in vain, so far as it respects salvation from sin in this life. There is then no rational ground of hope, that by anything we can possibly do while in the present exercise of faith, and love, and zeal, we can render it, through grace, in the least degree probable, that we shall persevere in seeking this blessing until we have fulfilled the condition of the promise, and secured the blessing. Nothing that we can now do, while in faith and love, will render it through grace in the least degree probable, that we shall at any future time believe or do anything that will secure to us the promised blessing. Christians do at present desire this attainment, and have a heart or will to it. This objection must assume that grace has made no such provision as to render the hope rational, that this will and desire will exist in future, do what we may at present to secure it.

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 68 - Sanctification (Part 12) paragraph 104 Objections answered

     In replying to these inquiries, I remark, that the Holy Spirit is given to the saints for the express purpose revealed in such passages as the following. 1 Thes. v. 23, 24. "And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit, and soul, and body, be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it." With this, and similar promises, and express declarations in his hands, is it rational or irrational in him, to expect to receive the fulfilment of such promises? If it be answered, that these promises are conditioned upon his faith, and it is irrational for him to hope to fulfil the condition; I reply, that the Holy Spirit is given to him, and abides in him, to draw him into a fulfilment of the conditions of the promises. It is nowhere so much as hinted in the Bible, that the Holy Spirit will not do this until the close of life. Observe, that this is the very office-work of the Spirit, to work in us to fulfil the conditions of the promises of entire sanctification, and thus to secure this end. His business with and in us, is to procure our entire sanctification; and, as I said, there is not so much as a hint in the Bible, that he does not desire or design to secure this before death. Now, suppose we lay aside all knowledge of facts, in relation to the past experience of the church, and look into the Bible. From reading this, would any man get the idea, that God did not expect, desire, and intend, that saints should obtain an entire victory over sin in this life? When we read such promises and declarations as abound in the Bible, should we not see rational ground for hope, that we shall obtain a complete victory over sin in this life?

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 68 - Sanctification (Part 12) paragraph 108 Objections answered

     But again, since the Holy Spirit is given to and abides in Christians, for the very purpose of securing their entire and permanent sanctification, and since there is no intimation in the Bible that this work is to be delayed until death, but, on the contrary, express declarations and promises, that as fully and expressly as possible teach the contrary, it is perfectly rational to hope for this, and downright unbelief not to expect it. What can be more express to this point than the promises and declarations that have been already quoted upon this subject?

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 68 - Sanctification (Part 12) paragraph 112 Objections answered

     Again, 2. Cor. vi. 17, 18: "Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing: and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty." Now in view of these promises, the apostle immediately adds the following injunction. 2 Cor. vii. 1: "Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God." Did the apostle think it irrational to expect or hope to make this attainment in this life? Suppose he had added to the injunction just quoted, that it was dangerous for them to expect to make the attainment which he exhorted them to make. Suppose he had said, you have no right to infer from the promises I have just quoted, that it is rational in you to hope to make this attainment in this life. But suppose the Corinthians to have inquired, Do not these promises relate to this life? Yes, says the apostle. And does not your injunction to perfect holiness in the fear of God, relate to this life? Yes. Did you not utter this injunction seeing that we have the promises? Yes. Is it not rational, seeing we have these promises, to hope to avail ourselves of them, and to perfect holiness in the fear of God in this life? Now suppose that to this last question the apostle had answered, No. Would not this have placed the apostle and the promises and his injunction in a most ridiculous light? To be sure it would. Would not any honest mind feel shocked at such an absurdity. Certainly.

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 68 - Sanctification (Part 12) paragraph 117 Objections answered

     And is not the same true of the promises of entire sanctification in this life? These are among the most full and express promises in the Bible. The Holy Spirit excites in all Christians the most earnest desire for the thing promised. Why is it not rational to hope for the thing which we desire? I do not here say that all do hope for it. All Christians do desire it; this is one element of hope: but why do not all entertain the expectation of making this attainment, and thus hope for it? Is it because there is no rational ground of hope? But what ground is wanting? It is expressly promised. God has nowhere intimated, that it is not his design to fulfil this class of promises. The Spirit leads us to pray for it. Now would it be rational to believe that these promises will be fulfilled to us? Why not? The difficulty, and the only difficulty that can exist in this case, is that human speculation and false teaching have forbidden confidence or expectation; so that while there is intense desire, there is no real hope indulged of receiving the blessing. The blessing is delayed because there is no hope. There is ground of hope, but false teaching has forbidden hope to be indulged. The church are told by men in high places, that such a hope is irrational. Thus the Holy Spirit is resisted, and grieved, and quenched, when he is striving to inspire hope that this blessing will be obtained. This is just as the devil would have it.

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 68 - Sanctification (Part 12) paragraph 119 Objections answered

     But again: Has grace established any such connection between the present belief of the promises and their fulfilment, as to render it certain, or in any degree probable, that they will be fulfilled to us?

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 68 - Sanctification (Part 12) paragraph 122 Objections answered

     But again: I say that this is as true of the promises of entire sanctification in this life, as of any other promises whatever. If it is not, I say again, let the contrary be shown, if it can be.

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 68 - Sanctification (Part 12) paragraph 132 Objections answered

     Suppose it be objected, that many Christians have been led thus to pray, who have not received the blessing sought. I answer, that it remains to be proved that they were led by the Holy Spirit to plead any promise in faith, where they have not received, or will not receive an answer according to the true spirit and meaning of the promise which they plead and believed. Suppose they may have thought at some time, or that they have often thought, that they had become so established that they should sin no more, and that the event has proved that they were mistaken; this does not prove that it is irrational for them to expect that their prayers shall yet be fully answered. Suppose a parent is led by the Holy Spirit to pray in faith for the conversion of a child, and that this child appears, if you please, from time to time to be converted, but that the event shows that he was mistaken; that is, that he was not truly converted; this is no reason for his despairing of his conversion. He is still warranted to hope, and is bound, if he is conscious of having prayed in faith for his conversion, still to expect his conversion, and to use the appropriate means to secure this result. Just so, if a Christian has been led to plead the promises of deliverance from all sin: for example, such an one as 1 Thes. v. 23, 24.--"And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit, and soul, and body, be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it." I say, if any saint on earth is conscious of being, or having been, led to pray in faith for the fulfilment of this promise, he is warranted to expect its fulfilment to him, according to its true spirit and meaning; and this he is bound to expect, although he may have supposed that he had entered upon this state, and found himself mistaken a hundred times. The fact, that he has not yet received the fulfilment of the promise in extenso, no more proves that he will not, than the delay in the case of the promise that Abraham should have a son, proved that it was irrational in him to expect the promise to be fulfilled to him. It has been objected, that it was irrational to expect to attain to a state in this life in which we should sin no more, because many have supposed they had made the attainment, and found at length that they were mistaken. But there is no force in this objection. Suppose this is granted, what then? Does this prove that the prayer of faith will not be answered? Suppose many such mistakes have been made; does this disprove the word of God? In no wise. God will still fulfil his promises, and "is not slack concerning them as some men count slackness." If such a promise has been pleaded in faith, heaven and earth shall pass away before the answer shall fail. But suppose it should be alleged, that evidence is wanting that any ever did or will plead those promises in faith. To this I answer, that the soul may be as conscious of exercising faith in these promises, as it is of its own existence; and although one might think he believed when he did not, still it would be true, that when one actually did believe he would know and be sure of it.

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 68 - Sanctification (Part 12) paragraph 137 Objections answered

     But again, I say, that the past experience and observation of the church, whatever it may be in respect to the subject under consideration, is not the test of what it is reasonable to expect in future. If it is, it is unreasonable to expect any improvement in the state of the church and the world. If past experience is to settle the question of what it is rational to expect in future, then at no period of the church's past history was it rational to expect any improvement in her condition. It is not to past experience, but to the promises and the revealed design of God, and to the Holy Spirit, that we are to look for a ground of rational hope in regard to the future.

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 68 - Sanctification (Part 12) paragraph 138 Objections answered

     I suppose that it will not be denied by any one, that most Christians might rationally hope to be indefinitely better than they are; that is, to be much more stable than they are. But if they might rationally hope to be much better than they are, on what ground can they rationally hope for this? The ground of this hope must be the indwelling and influence of the Holy Spirit; that "exceeding great and precious promises are given to us, whereby we may be made partakers of the divine nature, and escape the corruptions which are in the world through lust;" that the Holy Spirit is struggling within us to secure in us the fulfilment of the conditions of those promises, and therefore we may reasonably hope to make indefinitely higher attainments in this life than we have yet made:--I say, I suppose that no Christian will deny this. But some of these promises expressly pledge the state of entire sanctification in this life. This is not only true in fact, but is plainly implied in the saying of Peter just quoted. Observe, Peter says, 2 Pet. i. 4: "Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises; that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust." This plainly implies, that those promises cover the whole ground of entire sanctification. Now with such promises in our hands, why should it be thought unreasonable to hope for entire and permanent victory over sin in this world, any more than it is irrational to hope for indefinite improvement in this life. Will it be said, that it is easier to keep us from sin generally than uniformly. But who can know, that God cannot as easily give us a complete victory, as to suffer us to sin, and then recover us again? At any rate, the promises of entire sanctification are made, and it is just as rational, that is, just as truly rational to expect them to be fulfilled to us, and to expect that we shall be led to fulfil the conditions of them, as that we shall fulfil the conditions of the promises of perseverance. If there be not the same degree of reason to hope for one as for the other, still there is real ground of rational hope in both cases. This cannot reasonably be denied. It is therefore rational to hope for both.

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 68 - Sanctification (Part 12) paragraph 139 Objections answered

     Now the fact is, that Christians find themselves disposed to attain this state. If they are disposed to aim at it, and to pray and struggle for such a victory, is it rational for them to expect or hope to obtain such a victory? The question is not really, whether it is rational to hope that Christians will be disposed to attain this state. The fact of their being Christians implies that they are thus disposed; and the inquiry is, being thus disposed, is it rational for them to expect to make the attainment? I answer,--yes. It is perfectly rational for any and every Christian, who finds himself disposed to aim at and struggle after this state, to expect to obtain the blessing which he seeks; and every Christian is drawn by the Holy Spirit to desire this attainment. He has, in the very fact of his being led to desire and pray after it, and to pray and struggle after a complete and lasting victory over sin, the best of evidence that he may rationally expect to make the attainment. It is just as rational to expect this, under such circumstances, as it is to expect to persevere to the end of life in grace; or as rational as it is to expect to make indefinitely higher advances in holiness. If it is rational to hope to make indefinitely higher attainments than we have made, because of, or upon the conditions of the promises, and of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, to stir us up to fulfil the conditions of the promises, it is just as rational to hope for a permanent victory over sin, upon the same conditions. If the Holy Spirit leads on to indefinitely higher attainments, it is rational to expect to make them. If he leads on to the fulfilment of the conditions of the promises of complete and permanent victory over sin, it is just as rational to expect to attain this state, as it is to expect to make indefinite advances toward it.

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 68 - Sanctification (Part 12) paragraph 150 Objections answered

     Observe, the question before us is, whether the Christian, who is actually willing, and most earnestly desirous of rising permanently above the power of sin and temptation, and who is stirred up to lay hold on the promises of complete deliverance, and to plead them in faith before God, can rationally hope to make the attainment in this life at which he is aiming? Is such a soul mad and deluded, or is it rationally employed? and are its expectations in accordance with reason and revelation? Undoubtedly they are in accordance with both.

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 69 - Sanctification (Part 13) paragraph 10 Tendency of the denial that Christians have valid grounds of hope that they should obtain a victory over sin in this life

     (4.) Again, faith is also a condition of prevailing prayer. Without faith it is impossible to please God in anything. It is, as every reader of the Bible knows, the everywhere expressed or implied condition of the fulfilment of the promises of God; and we are expressly assured, that he who wavers, and does not implicitly believe or trust in God, must not expect to receive anything in answer to prayer.

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 69 - Sanctification (Part 13) paragraph 21 Tendency of the denial that Christians have valid grounds of hope that they should obtain a victory over sin in this life

     We have seen, and Satan and his emissaries know, that intellectual expectation or conviction is a condition of faith, and that faith is a condition of all holiness and of salvation. It has therefore always been, and still is, one of the principal objects of Satan to prevent faith. To do this, he must destroy hope or expectation, and desire. Men are exceedingly prone to discredit the Divine testimony and character; and it would seem, that unbelief is the most common, as well as the most unreasonable, abomination in the world. It is remarkable with what readiness, and with what credulity, a hint or an insinuation against the testimony of God will be received. It would seem, that the human mind is in such an attitude towards God, that his most solemn declarations and his oath can be discredited, upon the bare denial of man, and even of the devil. Man seems to be more prone to unbelief, than to almost any other form of sin. Whatever, therefore, tends to beget distrust, or to prevent expectation in regard to the promises and truth of God, tends of course in the most direct and efficient manner to oppose God and religion. Now suppose ministers should set themselves so to caricature and misrepresent religion, as to render it undesirable, and even odious to the human mind; so that, as the human mind is constituted, it would be impossible to desire it. Who cannot see that such a ministry were infinitely worse than none; and would be the most successful and efficient instrumentality that Satan could devise to oppose God, and build up the influence of hell? If those who are supposed to know by experience, and who are the leaders in, and teachers of religion, represent it as undesirable, in just so far as they have influence, they are the most successful opposers of it. The result would be the same, whether they did this through misapprehension or design. If they mistook the nature of religion, and without designing to misrepresent it, did nevertheless actually do so, the consequence must be just as fatal to the interests of religion as if they were its real, but disguised enemies. This, as I have said, is no uncommon thing for ministers, through misapprehension to misrepresent the gospel so grossly as to repel, rather than attract, the human mind. In so doing they of course render hope impossible, by preventing the possibility of one of its essential elements, desire. There is then no effort made on the part of the hearers of the ministers, to obtain what they are prevented from desiring. Such ministers preach on, and ascribe to the sovereignty of God their want of success, not considering that the fault is in their grossly misrepresenting God and his claims, and the nature of his religion. It were perfectly easy, were this the place to do so, to show that the representations of God, and of his claims, and of religion, which are sometimes made in the pulpit, and through the press, are calculated, in a high degree, to repel and disgust, rather than attract the human mind. When such misrepresentations are complained of, we are told, that the carnal mind will of course repel true representations of the character of God and of religion; and the fact, that disgust is produced, is regarded as evidence that the truth is held forth to the people.

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 69 - Sanctification (Part 13) paragraph 25 Tendency of the denial that Christians have valid grounds of hope that they should obtain a victory over sin in this life

     Suppose also, that religious teachers should instruct the church that they have no rational ground for the expectation that their prayers will be answered. Suppose they should tell them that present faith has no connexion whatever with future faith, or no such connexion as to render future faith probable; that present faith in any promise is so far from having any certain connexion with its fulfilment, that it affords no ground whatever for rational hope that the promises at present believed will ever be fulfilled. Suppose they are told that prayer for the grace of perseverance, and a present desire and determination to persevere, had no such connexion with the desired end as to afford the least ground of rational hope that they should persevere.

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 69 - Sanctification (Part 13) paragraph 26 Tendency of the denial that Christians have valid grounds of hope that they should obtain a victory over sin in this life

     Suppose that ministers should take this course to render expectation, and of course hope and faith impossible, what must be the result? Every one can see. Take any class of promises you please, and let the ministry in general represent it as a dangerous error for Christians to expect or hope to realize their fulfilment, and what must the consequence be? Why, in so far as they had influence, they would exert the very worst influence possible. Apply this principle to the promises of the world's conversion, and what would be done for missions? Apply it to parents in relation to their children, and what would become of family religion?

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 69 - Sanctification (Part 13) paragraph 29 Tendency of the denial that Christians have valid grounds of hope that they should obtain a victory over sin in this life

     But the point we are now considering is, the tendency of such teaching; the tendency of teaching the church that it is irrational for them to expect to fulfil the conditions of the promises. I care not what class, any class. God has written them, and holds them out to inspire desire and expectation--to beget hope, and faith, and effort, and thus to secure their fulfilment to his people. Now, what an employment for the leaders and instructors of the people, to be engaged in teaching them not to expect the fulfilment of these promises to them, that such an expectation or hope is a dangerous error, that it is irrational for them to hope so to fulfil the conditions of these promises, as to secure the blessings promised, however much they may at present desire to do so. I say again, the devil himself could not do worse than this. Hell itself could not wish for a more efficient opposition to God and religion than this. This is indeed a most sublime employment for the ministers of God, to be zealous in their private and public, in their individual, and in their associated capacities, in season and out of season, in persuading the people, that the grace of God is sufficient for them if they would believe the promises, and appropriate this proffered grace to themselves; but that it is "dangerous error" for them to expect, even by grace divine, so to fulfil the conditions of the promises as to avail themselves of this proffered grace, however willing and desirous they now are to do so. They might be saved, but it is dangerous to expect to be saved. They might obtain answers to prayer, but it is dangerous error to expect them. They might obtain a victory over sin in this world, but it is "dangerous error" to expect to do so, however much they may desire it. This is indeed sublime religious instruction; or rather, it is a most gross contradiction and denial of the grace and truth of God. I will not of course say, nor do I think, that it is intentional, but I must expose its true nature, and its tendency.

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 69 - Sanctification (Part 13) paragraph 32 Tendency of the denial that Christians have valid grounds of hope that they should obtain a victory over sin in this life

     Why may not a man as well caricature God and religion, and so represent both, as to render them odious, and thus render desire impossible, as to exclaim against there being any ground of rational hope, that the promises will be fulfilled to us? Why may not a man as well be employed in preventing desire, as in preventing expectation? One certainly is equally as fatal to the interests of religion, and to souls, as the other. I do not complain of designed misrepresentation, in regard to the truth we have been considering; but Oh, what a mistake! What an infinitely ruinous misapprehension of the gospel, and of the grounds of hope! God has endeavoured by every means to inspire desire and expectation, to secure confidence and effort, but alas! alas! how many ministers have fallen into the infinite mistake of laying a stumbling-block before the church! How many are crying, There is no reason to hope; no ground for rational expectation, that you shall so fulfil the conditions of the promises, as to secure their fulfilment. You must expect to live in sin as long as you are in this world; it is dangerous to entertain any other expectation.

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 69 - Sanctification (Part 13) paragraph 34 Tendency of the denial that Christians have valid grounds of hope that they should obtain a victory over sin in this life

     God has made to us exceeding great and precious promises, and held them out to our faith, and said, "All things are possible to him that believeth." "If thou canst believe, thou shalt see the glory of God." "Be it unto thee according to thy faith." "If ye will not believe, ye shall not be established." But why should I quote passages; every reader of the Bible knows that everywhere the greatest stress is laid upon faith, and that nothing is too hard for God to do, when his people will believe. What must be the influence of a religious teacher who discourages faith? Suppose he explains away the promises to parents in reference to their children. Who has not observed the influence of a teacher that is himself stumbling through unbelief, in regard to that class of promises. You will universally find, that so far as his influence extends, it is death to the expectation, and of course to the faith of parents, in regard to the conversion of their children. Of course their children grow up in sin, and the families of the members of his church are filled with impenitent children. The same will be true in reference to revivals of religion. Let the pastor be himself unbelieving; let him have little or no hope of having religion revived; let him cast the stumbling-block of his own iniquity or unbelief before the church, and the influence is death. It were much better that a church had no minister, than for them to have one who has so much unbelief as to preach unbelief, instead of faith, to the people; who is for ever throwing out discouraging suggestions in regard to the efficacy of prayer and faith in the promises of God. What would be the influence of a minister, who should from year to year hold out to his people the doctrine, that the promises are made upon conditions which they had no rational hope of fulfilling? that they might have a revival, if they would use the appropriate means in the appropriate manner; but it was dangerous error for them to expect to do so? That the children of the members of his church might be converted, if the parents would appropriate to themselves, and rest in, and plead the promises made to parents; but, that these promises were made upon conditions that they had no rational ground for hope that they should fulfil; and that therefore it was a dangerous error to expect to fulfil them, and to have their children converted? Who does not see what the influence of such a pastor must be? It must be death and ruin. He preaches unbelief, instead of faith, to the people.

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 69 - Sanctification (Part 13) paragraph 40 Tendency of the denial that Christians have valid grounds of hope that they should obtain a victory over sin in this life

     Now I ask, how could a minister more directly serve the devil, than by such teaching as this? He could hardly be more injuriously employed. The fact is, that an unbelieving minister is the greatest of all stumbling-blocks to the church. I have had occasion to witness enough of this to make any man's heart sick. It matters not at all, in what particular form his unbelief developes itself; in that direction all will be ruin. Suppose he loses, or never had any confidence in revivals of religion, and is always letting out his unbelief upon his church. He is the greatest stumbling-block that could be laid before them. Suppose he neither understands nor believes the promises of God made to parents respecting their children, and that in this respect he lets out his ignorance and unbelief, he is the ruin of their children. Suppose he is in the dark, and filled with error or unbelief, in respect to everything where faith and energetic action are concerned, and throws doubt and discouragement in the way: his influence is death.

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 70 - Sanctification (Part 14) paragraph 23 Objections--continued Part II

     The promises of entire sanctification are conditioned upon faith. We have no right to expect the fulfilment of the promises to us until we believe them. To believe and appropriate them is to believe that they will be fulfilled to us. But of this we have no evidence, until after we have believed that they will be fulfilled to us, which is the condition of their fulfilment. Therefore, we have no reason to expect their fulfilment to us. To this objection I reply,

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 70 - Sanctification (Part 14) paragraph 24 Objections--continued Part II

     (1.) That it applies equally to all the promises made to the saints; and if this objection is good, and a bar to rational hope in respect to the promises of entire sanctification, it is equally so in respect to all the promises.

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 70 - Sanctification (Part 14) paragraph 25 Objections--continued Part II

     (2.) The objection represents the gospel and its promises as a mere farce. If this objection has any weight, the matter stands thus: God has promised us certain things, upon condition, that we will believe that he will give them to us. But the condition of the promise is such as to render it impossible for us to fulfil it. We really, in this case, have no promise, until after we have believed that we shall receive the thing promised. We must believe that he will give the thing promised to us. But of this we can have no evidence until we have believed this, since this belief is the condition of the promise. This reduces us to the necessity of believing without a promise, that God will give us the promised blessing; for this belief is the condition of the promises in which the blessing is pledged. We must first believe that we shall receive the thing promised, before we have a right to expect to receive, or before we can rationally believe that we shall receive it. Thus the promises are all made upon a condition, that renders them all a mere nullity in the estimation of this objection.

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 70 - Sanctification (Part 14) paragraph 27 Objections--continued Part II

     (3.) That the objection is based upon a misapprehension of the condition of the promises. The objection assumes, that the promises are conditioned, not upon confidence in the veracity of God, but upon our believing that he will give to us the thing which he has promised. But he has promised this blessing, upon condition that we believe that he will give it to us; of which we have no promise, until after we have believed that we shall receive it. The objection assumes that God's veracity is not pledged to grant the thing promised in any case, until we have believed that we shall have the thing promised; and so we must believe that God will do what his veracity is not pledged to do, and what we have no evidence that he will do until we truly believe that he will. But we have no right to claim the thing promised, until we have believed that we shall have it, for it is promised only upon this condition. Thus we have no foundation for faith. God's veracity is not pledged to give the blessing, until after we have believed without evidence that he will give it to us. So that we are shut up to believe that he will give it to us, before his veracity is pledged to do so. We must first believe without a promise, as a condition of having a promise, or any rational ground of confidence that we shall receive the thing promised. This view of the subject would render the gospel and its promises a ridiculous tantalizing of the hopes and solicitudes of the people of God. This objection supposes that we have no evidence upon which to rest, but the promises; and the promise affords no evidence that we shall receive the thing promised, until we believe that we shall receive it, for upon this condition the promise is made. I say again, that the objection misapprehends the condition of the promises. The fact is, the promises are all made upon condition that we believe in, or trust in the veracity of God. Of this we have other evidence than that contained in the promises. We can trust in the promise of no being, any further than we have confidence in his veracity. We can have ground for confidence in the promises no further than we have ground for confidence in his veracity. Now, if we had no ground for confidence in the veracity of God, except what we have in the promises themselves, and were they conditioned upon our belief of them, they must all be to us a mere nullity. But the truth is, we have infinitely good reason for confidence in the veracity of God, and consequently, for believing his promises, and for expecting them to be fulfilled to us. We have in the intuitive affirmations of our own reason, in the revelations which God has made of himself, in his works and word, and by his Holy Spirit, the highest evidence of the veracity of God. When we confide in his veracity, we cannot but confide in his promises, so far as we understand them. Confidence in the veracity of God is both the condition of the promises, and a condition of confiding in them, and of expecting to receive the things pledged in them. Confidence in God's universal truthfulness and faithfulness is a condition of our expecting to receive the fulfilment of his promises. We could not rationally expect to receive the things promised, had we no reason for confiding in the universal truthfulness of God. Hence the Holy Spirit is given, to inspire confidence in the veracity of God, and thus enable us to lay hold upon, and appropriate the promises to ourselves. Now if, as the objection we are considering assumes, the promises were made only upon condition that we believe that we shall receive the thing promised, that is, if the thing is promised only upon condition that we first believe that we receive it, then surely the promises were vain; for this would suspend the fulfilment of the promise upon an impossible condition. But, if the promises are conditioned upon our confiding in the veracity of God, then they are made to a certain class of persons, and as soon as we are conscious of exercising this confidence in him, we cannot but expect him to fulfil all his promises. Thus a confidence in his veracity at once fulfills the conditions of the promises, and renders the expectation that we shall receive the things promised, rational and necessary.

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 70 - Sanctification (Part 14) paragraph 28 Objections--continued Part II

     We may appropriate the promises and expect their fulfilment, when we are conscious of confidence in the veracity of God; for upon this condition they were made, and upon no other condition is confidence in their fulfilment to us possible. That is, we cannot expect God to fulfil his promises to us, except upon the condition, that we confide in his universal truthfulness. For this confidence we have the best of all reasons, and to secure this confidence the Holy Spirit is given. God requires us to expect to receive the things promised, simply because he has promised to bestow them upon condition of faith in his veracity, and because faith in his veracity implies, and includes, the expectation of receiving the things which we know he has promised, upon condition of this faith. If we have good reason for confidence in the veracity of God, we have good reason for the expectation that he will fulfil to us all his promises; for confidence in his veracity is the condition of them. Confidence in his veracity must imply confidence in his promises, so far as they are known.

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 70 - Sanctification (Part 14) paragraph 29 Objections--continued Part II

     God requires faith in his promises only because he requires faith in his universal veracity, and when he conditionates his promises upon our confidence in them, it is only because he conditionates them upon our confidence in his veracity; and because confidence in his veracity implies confidence in his promises, and confidence in his promises implies confidence in his veracity. When therefore he conditionates his promises upon our believing them, and that we shall receive the things promised in them, the spirit and meaning of the condition is, that we confide in his truthfulness, which confidence is implied in the expectation of receiving the things promised. It should be distinctly understood then, that faith in the promises implies faith in the divine veracity, and faith in the divine veracity implies faith in all the known promises. In the order of nature, confidence in the divine veracity precedes confidence in a specific divine promise. But where the latter is there the former must always be. The general condition of all the promises is, confidence in the character and truthfulness of God. This also implies confidence in his promises, and hence the expressed condition is faith in the promise, because faith in his veracity implies confidence in his promises, and confidence in his promises implies confidence in his veracity.

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 70 - Sanctification (Part 14) paragraph 30 Objections--continued Part II

     But here it may be asked, does not this reasoning prove too much, and will it not follow from this, that all the promises must be, and are really due and fulfilled to all true saints; for all true saints have true confidence in the veracity of God? If faith in the veracity of God is the true condition of all the promises, it follows, that every true believer has fulfilled the conditions of all the promises; then the veracity of God is pledged for the fulfilment of all of them to every true believer. To this I answer, that the promises are made to believers in Christ, or in other words, to all true saints. Their being true saints is the condition of their right to appropriate them, and claim the fulfilment of them to themselves. True confidence in God is the condition of the promises, in the sense, not that they will all be fulfilled to us, of course, upon the bare condition that we confide in the general and universal veracity of God, without either pleading, appropriating, or using means to secure the fulfilment of certain specific promises to us. But confidence in the veracity of God is the condition of our having a right to appropriate the promises to ourselves, and to expect their fulfilment to ourselves. A consciousness that we confide in the veracity of God gives us the right to consider every promise as made to us which is applicable to our circumstances and wants, and to lay hold upon, and plead it, and expect it to be fulfilled to us. Observe, the promises are not merely conditioned upon confidence in the veracity of God, but also upon our pleading them with entire confidence in the veracity of God, and in the fact that he will fulfil them to us, and also upon the diligent use of means to secure the promised blessing. God says, "I will be enquired of by the house of Israel to do these things for them." By trusting the veracity of God, we become personally and individually interested in the promises, and have a title to the things promised, in such a sense as to have a right, through grace, to claim the fulfilment to us of specific promises, upon the further condition of our pleading them with faith in the veracity of God, and using the necessary means to secure their fulfilment to us. Most, not to say all, of the promises of specific blessings have several conditions. An implicit faith or confidence in God as a hearer and answerer of prayer, and as a God of universal sincerity and veracity, as true and faithful to all his word, is the general condition of all the promises.

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 70 - Sanctification (Part 14) paragraph 31 Objections--continued Part II

     The promises are made to this class of persons. The promises of particular things are addressed to this class, for their individual use and benefit, as circumstances shall develop their necessities. By the exercise of implicit confidence in God, they have fulfilled the conditions of the promises, in such a sense, as to entitle them to appropriate any specific promise, and claim through grace its fulfilment to them, as their circumstances demand. This laying hold of, and appropriating the promises of specific blessings, and using the means to secure the thing promised, are also conditions of receiving the promised blessing.

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 71 - Sanctification (Part 15) paragraph 26 Objections--continued Part III

     (vi.) It is expressly asserted of Abraham, and multitudes of the Old Testament saints, that they "died in faith, not having received the promises." Now what can this mean? It cannot be, that they did not know the promises; for to them the promises were made. It cannot mean, that they did not receive Christ, for the Bible expressly asserts that they did--that "Abraham rejoiced to see Christ's day"--that Moses, and indeed all the Old Testament saints, had so much knowledge of Christ as a Saviour to be revealed, as to bring them into a state of salvation. But still they did not receive the promise of the Spirit, as it is poured out under the Christian dispensation. This was the great thing all along promised, first to Abraham, or to his seed, which is Christ. Gal. iii. 14, 16: "That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith." "Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, and to thy seed, which is Christ;" and afterwards to the Christian church, by all the prophets. Acts ii. 16-21: "But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, (saith God,) I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; and on my servants, and on my handmaidens, I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy; and I will show wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke; the sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come; and it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved." Acts ii. 38, 39: "Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call." Acts iii. 24, 26: "Yea, and all the prophets from Samuel, and those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have likewise foretold of these days." "Unto you first, God having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities;" and lastly, by Christ himself, which he expressly styles "the promise" of the Father. Acts i. 4, 5: "And being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which saith he, ye have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence." They did not receive the light and the glory of the Christian dispensation, nor the fulness of the Holy Spirit. And it is asserted in the Bible, that "they without us," that is, without our privileges, "could not be made perfect."

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 71 - Sanctification (Part 15) paragraph 49 Objections--continued Part III

     (4.) I think it is in entire keeping with the prophecies, to understand this passage as expressly promising to the Church a day, when all her members shall be sanctified, and "Holiness to the Lord shall be written upon the bells of the horses." Indeed, it appears to be abundantly foretold, that the church as a body shall in this world enter into a state of entire sanctification in some period of her history, and that this will be the carrying out of the promises of the New Covenant of which we are speaking. But it is by no means an objection to this view of the subject, that all the church have not yet entered into this state.

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 71 - Sanctification (Part 15) paragraph 52 Objections--continued Part III

     (ii.) That the apostle, in his epistle to the Hebrews, quotes it as to be fulfilled at the advent of Christ. Now to this I answer:--It might as well be argued, that all the rest of the promises and prophecies relating to the gospel-day were fulfilled, because the time had come when the promise is due. Suppose it were denied, that the world would ever be converted, or that there ever would be any more piety in the world than there has been and is at present; and when the promises and prophecies respecting the latter-day glory and the conversion of the world should be adduced in proof that the world is to be converted, it should be replied, that these promises had already been fulfilled, that they were unconditional, and that the advent of the Messiah was the time when they became due. But suppose, that in answer to this, it should be urged, that nothing has ever yet occurred in the history of this world that seems at all to have come up to the meaning of these promises and prophecies, that the world has never been in the state which seems to be plainly described in these promises and prophecies--and that it cannot be, that anything the world has yet experienced is what is meant by such language as is used in the Bible, in relation to the future state of the world. Now suppose to this it should be replied, that the event has shown what the promises and prophecies really meant; that we are to interpret the language by the fact; that as the promises and prophecies were unconditional, and the gospel day has really come when they were to be fulfilled, we certainly know, whatever their language may be, that they meant nothing more than what the world has already realized? This would be precisely like the reasoning of some persons in relation to Jer. xxxi. 31-34. They say:--

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 71 - Sanctification (Part 15) paragraph 53 Objections--continued Part III

     (a.) The promises are without condition.

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 71 - Sanctification (Part 15) paragraph 54 Objections--continued Part III

     (b.) The time has come for their fulfilment. Therefore, the world has realized their fulfilment, and all that was intended by them: that the facts in the case settle the question of construction and interpretation; and we know that they never intended to promise a state of entire sanctification, because, as a matter of fact, no such state has been realized by the church. Indeed! Then the Bible is the most hyperbolical, not to say ridiculous, book in the universe. If what the world has seen in regard to the extension and universal prevalence of the Redeemer's kingdom, is all that the promises relating to these events really mean, then the Bible of all books in the world is the most calculated to deceive mankind. But who, after all, in the exercise of his sober senses, will admit any such reasoning as this? Who does not know, or may not know, if he will use his common sense, that although these promises and prophecies are unconditionally expressed, yet that they are, as a matter of fact, really conditioned upon a right exercise of human agency, and that a time is to come when the world shall be converted; and that the conversion of the world implies in itself a vastly higher state of religious action in the church, than has for centuries, or perhaps ever been witnessed--and that the promise of the New Covenant is still to be fulfilled in a higher sense than it ever has been? If any man doubts this, I must believe that he does not understand his Bible. Faith, then, is an indispensable condition of the fulfilment of all promises of spiritual blessings, the reception of which involves the exercise of our own agency.

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 71 - Sanctification (Part 15) paragraph 78 Objections--continued Part III

     Now, which, I inquire, is the most honourable to God, to go on with a string of confessions and self-accusations, that are in flat contradiction to the promises of God, and almost, to say the least, a burlesque upon the grace of the gospel, or to be able, through grace, to confess that we have found it true in our own experience, that his grace is sufficient for us--that as our day is so our strength is, and that sin does not have dominion over us, because we are not under the law, but under grace?

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 72 - Sanctification (Part 16) paragraph 16 Objections--continued Part IV

     Let ministers urge upon both saints and sinners the claims of God. Let them insist that sinners may, and can, and ought, immediately to become Christians, and that Christians can, and may, and ought to live wholly to God. Let them urge Christians to live without sin, and hold out the same urgency of command, and the same encouragement that the new school holds out to sinners; and we shall soon find that Christians are entering into the liberty of perfect love, as sinners have found pardon and acceptance. Let ministers hold forth the same gospel to all, and insist that the grace of the gospel is as sufficient to save from all sin as from a part of it; and we shall soon see whether the difficulty has not been, that the gospel has been hid and denied, until the churches have been kept weak through unbelief. The church has been taught not to expect the fulfilment of the promises to them; that it is dangerous error to expect the fulfilment to them, for example, of the promise in 1 Thess. v. 23, 24: "And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit, and soul, and body, be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it." When God says he will sanctify us wholly, and preserve us blameless unto the coming of the Lord, masters in Israel tell us that to expect this is dangerous error.

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 72 - Sanctification (Part 16) paragraph 46 Objections--continued Part IV

     In the same way some say, that if we have attained a state of entire or permanent sanctification, we can no longer be in a state of probation. I answer, that perseverance in this depends upon the promises and grace of God, just as the final perseverance of the saints does. In neither case can we have any other assurance of our perseverance, than that of faith in the promise and grace of God: nor any other knowledge that we shall continue in this state, than that which arises out of a belief in the testimony of God, that he will preserve us blameless until the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. If this be inconsistent with our probation, I see not why the doctrine of the saint's perseverance is not equally inconsistent with it. If any one is disposed to maintain, that for us to have any judgment or belief grounded on the promises of God, in regard to our final perseverance, is inconsistent with a state of probation, all I can say is, that his views of probation are very different from my own, and so far as I understand, from those of the church of God.

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 72 - Sanctification (Part 16) paragraph 50 Objections--continued Part IV

     19. Again: while it is admitted by some, that entire sanctification in this life is attainable, yet it is denied, that there is any certainty that it will be attained by any one before death; for, it is said, that as all the promises of entire sanctification are conditioned upon faith, they therefore secure the entire sanctification of no one. To this I reply: That all the promises of salvation in the Bible are conditioned upon faith and repentance; and therefore it does not follow on this principle, that any person ever will be saved. What does all this arguing prove? The fact is, that while the promises of both salvation and sanctification, are conditioned upon faith, yet the promises that God will convert and sanctify the elect, spirit, soul and body, and preserve and save them, must be fulfilled, and will be fulfilled, by free grace drawing and securing the concurrence of free-will. With respect to the salvation of sinners, it is promised that Christ shall have a seed to serve him, and the Bible abounds with promises to Christ that secure the salvation of great multitudes of sinners. So the promises, that the church, as a body, at some period of her earthly history, shall be entirely sanctified, are, as it regards the church, unconditional, in the sense that they will assuredly be accomplished. But, as I have already shown, as it respects individuals, the fulfilment of these promises must depend upon the exercise of faith. Both in respect to the salvation of sinners and the sanctification of Christians, God is abundantly pledged to bring about the salvation of the one and the sanctification of the other, to the extent of his promise to Christ.

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 73 - Sanctification (Part 17) paragraph 13 Remarks

     4. We see how irrelevant and absurd the objection is, that as a matter of fact the church has not attained this state, and therefore it is not attainable. Why, if they have not understood it to be attainable, it no more disproves its attainableness, than the fact that the heathen have not embraced the gospel, proves that they will not when they know it. Within my memory it was thought to be dangerous to call sinners to repent and believe the gospel; and on the contrary, they were told by Calvinists, that they could not repent, that they must wait God's time; and it was regarded as a dangerous error for a sinner to think that he could repent. But who does not know, that the thorough inculcation of an opposite doctrine has brought scores of thousands to repentance? Now the same course needs to be pursued with Christians. Instead of being told, that it is dangerous to expect to be entirely sanctified in this life, they ought to be taught to believe at once, and take hold on the promises of perfect love and faith.

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 73 - Sanctification (Part 17) paragraph 21 Remarks

     9. If I am not mistaken, there is an extensive feeling among Christians and ministers, that much that ought to be known and may be known of the Saviour, is not known. Many are beginning to find that the Saviour is to them "as a root out of a dry ground, having neither form nor comeliness;" that the gospel which they preach or hear is not to them "the power of God unto salvation" from sin; that it is not to them "glad tidings of great joy;" that it is not to them a peace-giving gospel; and many are feeling that if Christ has done for them all that his grace is able to do in this life, the plan of salvation is sadly defective; that Christ is not after all a Saviour suited to their necessities; that the religion which they have is not suited to the world in which they live; that it does not, cannot make them free, but leaves them in a state of perpetual bondage. Their souls are agonized, and tossed to and fro without a resting-place. Multitudes also are beginning to see, that there are many passages, both in the Old and New Testament, which they do not understand; that the promises seem to mean much more than they have ever realized; and that the gospel and the plan of salvation, as a whole, must be something very different from that which they have as yet apprehended. There are, if I mistake not, great multitudes all over the country, who are inquiring more earnestly than ever before, after a knowledge of that Jesus who is to save his people from their sins.

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 73 - Sanctification (Part 17) paragraph 32 Remarks

     17. But before I close my remarks upon this subject, I must not fail to state what I regard as the present duty of Christians. It is to hold their will in a state of consecration to God, and to lay hold on the promises for the blessing promised in such passages as 1 Thess. v. 23, 24:--"And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly, and I pray God your whole spirit, and soul, and body, be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ; faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it." This is present duty. Let them wait on the Lord in faith, for that cleansing of the whole being which they need, to confirm, strengthen, settle them. All they can do, and all that God requires them to do, is to obey him from moment to moment, and to lay hold of him for the blessing of which we have been speaking; and to be assured, that God will bring forth the answer in the best time and in the best manner. If you believe, the anointing that abideth will surely be secured in due time.

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 81 - Perseverance of Saints IV paragraph 14 Consideration of principal arguments in support of the doctrine

     The natural tendency of true and thorough conviction of sin, and of such a knowledge of ourselves, as is essential to salvation, is to beget and foster despondency and despair; and, as I said, the soul in this condition has absolutely little or no ground of hope of ultimate salvation, except that which this doctrine, when rightly understood, affords. However far he may have progressed in the way of life, he sees, when he thoroughly knows the truth, that he has progressed not a step, except as he has been drawn and inclined by the indwelling grace and Spirit of Christ; and that he shall absolutely go no further in the way to heaven, unless the same gracious influence is continued, in such a sense, and to such an extent, as to overcome all the temptations with which he is beset. His only hope is in the fact, that God has promised to keep and preserve him. Nothing but God's faithfulness to his Son procured the conversion of any saint. Nothing but this same faithfulness has procured his perseverance for a day, and nothing else can render the salvation of any soul at all probable. What can a man be thinking about, or what can he know of himself, who does not know this? Unless the same grace that secures the conversion of the saints, secures their perseverance to the end, there is no hope for them. It is true, that the promises to sinners and to saints are conditioned upon their faith, and upon the right exercise of their own agency; and it is also true, that grace secures the fulfilment of the conditions of the promises, in every instance in which they are fulfilled, or they never would be fulfilled.

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 81 - Perseverance of Saints IV paragraph 15 Consideration of principal arguments in support of the doctrine

     We have seen that the promises of the Father to the Son secure the bestowment upon the saints of all grace to ensure their final salvation.

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 81 - Perseverance of Saints IV paragraph 16 Consideration of principal arguments in support of the doctrine

     It shocks and distresses me to hear professed Christians talk of being saved at all, except upon the ground of the anticipating, and persevering, and sin-overcoming, and hell-subduing grace of God in Christ Jesus. Why, I should as soon expect the devil to be saved, as that any saint on earth will be, if left, with all the promises of God in his hands, to stand and persevere without the drawings, and inward teachings, and over-persuading influences of the Holy Spirit. Shame on a theology that suspends the ultimate salvation of the saints upon the broken reed of their own resolutions in their best estate. Their firmest resolutions are nothing unless they are formed and supported by the influence of the Spirit of grace, going before, and exciting, and persuading to their formation and their continuance. This is everywhere taught in the Bible; and who that has considered the matter does not know, that this is the experience of every saint? Where, then, is the ground of hope, if the doctrine in question be denied? "If the foundation be destroyed, what shall the righteous do?" Where, then, is the evil tendency of this doctrine? It has no naturally evil tendency. Can the assurance of eternal salvation through the blood, and love, and grace of Christ, have a natural tendency to harden the heart of a child of God against his Father and his Saviour? Can the revealed fact, that he shall be more than a conqueror through Christ, beget in him a disposition to sin against Christ? Impossible! This doctrine, though liable to abuse by hypocrites, is nevertheless the sheet anchor of the saints in hours of conflict. And shall the children be deprived of the bread of life, because sinners will pervert the use of it to their own destruction? This doctrine is absolutely needful to prevent despair, when conviction is deep, and conflicts with temptation are sharp. Its natural tendency is to slay and keep down selfishness, to forestall selfish efforts and resolutions, and to sustain the confidence of the soul at all times. It tends to subdue sin, to humble the soul under a sense of the great love and faithfulness of God in Christ Jesus; to influence the soul to live upon Christ, and to renounce entirely and for ever all confidence in the flesh. Indeed, its tendency is the direct opposite of that asserted in the objection. It is the abuse, and not the natural tendency of this doctrine, against which this objection is urged. But the abuse of a doctrine is no reason why it should be rejected.

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 83 - Perseverance of Saints VI paragraph 25 Further objections answered

     It is said of this passage, that the history of the Israelites is here introduced as a warning to real Christians; consequently, the apostle must have assumed, that those of the Israelites who fell were real saints, or there would have been no pertinency or force in his allusion. To this I reply, that the pertinency and force of the allusion appear to me to have been as follows. The Israelites composed the visible church of God. At the time mentioned, they were all professors of religion. All possessed great light and privileges compared with the rest of the world; they therefore felt confident of their acceptance with God, and of their consequent safety and salvation. But with many of them it turned out, that God was not well pleased. Some of them turned out to be idolaters and were destroyed. Now, says the apostle, let this be a warning to you. You are in like manner professors of religion. You are all members of the visible church of God to which the promises are made. You have great light and privileges when compared with the world at large. You may think yourselves to be altogether safe, and sure of final salvation. But remember, that the history of the ancient church is written for your benefit; and the destruction of those just alluded to, is recorded for your admonition. Be not high minded, but fear. Do not be presumptuous, because you are members in good standing in the visible church, and possess great light and privileges; but remember, that many before you, who were like you in these respects, have lost their souls; "Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall."

 

 


GOSPEL THEMES, SERMON 10 - Conditions of Being Saved paragraph 85

You must have all confidence in Christ, or you cannot so saved. You must absolutely believe in Him -- believe all His words of promise. They were given you to be believed, and unless you believe them they can do you no good at all. So far from helping you without you exercise faith in them, they will only aggravate your guilt for unbelief. God would be believed when He speaks in love to lost sinners. He gave them these "exceeding great and precious promises, that they, by faith in them, might escape the corruption that is in the world through lust." But thousands of professors of religion know not how to use these promises, and as to them or any profitable use they make, the promises might as well have been written on the sands of the sea.

 

 


GOSPEL THEMES, SERMON 10 - Conditions of Being Saved paragraph 112

The promises were made to be believed, and belong to any one who will believe them. They reach forth their precious words to all, and whoever will, may take them as his own. Now will you believe that the Father has given you eternal life? This is the fact declared; will you believe it?

 

 


WAY OF SALVATION, SERMON 5 - Men Invited To Reason Together With God paragraph 9

2. The invitation, coupled with the promises annexed, implies that there are good and sufficient reasons why God should forgive the penitent. Hence the case is fair for practical results. The way is open for salvation. Sinners may so present their reasons before God as to ensure success.

 

 


WAY OF SALVATION, SERMON 22 - An Approving Heart Confidence in Prayer paragraph 38

I mention this now as another proof of the wonderful readiness of our Father in heaven to hear and answer prayer. Oh, what love is this! To what shall I compare it? and how shall I give you any adequate view of its amazing fullness and strength? Think of a vast body of water, pent up and suspended high above our heads, pressing and pressing at every crevice to find an outlet where it may gush forth. Suppose the bottom of the vast Pacific should heave and pour its ocean tides over all the continents of the earth. This might illustrate the vast overflowings of the love of God; how grace and love are mounting up far and infinitely above all the mountains of your sins. Yes; let the deep, broad Pacific Ocean be elevated on high and there pent up, and then conceive of its pressure. How it would force its way and pour out its gushing floods wherever the least channel might be opened! And you would not need to fear that your little wants would drain it dry! Oh, no! you would understand how there might be enough and to spare; how it might be said, "Open thy mouth wide and I will fill it"; how the promises might read, "Bring ye all the tithes into my store-house, and prove me now herewith, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out blessings till there be not room enough to receive them." The great oceans of divine love are never drained dry. Let Christians but bring in their tithes and make ready their vessels to receive, and then, having fulfilled the conditions, they may "stand still and see the salvation of God." Oh, how those mountain floods of mercy run over and pour themselves all abroad till every capacity of the soul is filled! Oh, how your little vessels will run over and run over, as in the case of the prophet when the widow's vessels were all full, and he cried out, Oh, hasten, hasten! "Is there not another vessel?" Still the oil flows on -- is there not another vessel? No more, she says; all are full; then and only then was the flowing oil stayed. How often have I thought of this in seasons of great revival, when Christians really get into a praying frame, and God seems to give them everything they ask for; until at length the prophet cries out, Is there not yet another vessel? Oh, bring more vessels, more vessels yet, for still the oil is flowing and still runs over; but ah, the church has reached the limit of her expectation. She has provided no more vessels: and the heavenly current is stayed. Infinite love can bless no more; for faith is lacking to prepare for and receive it.

 

 


CHARLES G. FINNEY TESTIMONIAL OF REVIVALS, CHAPTER I. - BIRTH AND EARLY EDUCATION. paragraph 33 Purpose of the Author - Birth and early circumstances - Want of religious privileges - Entering upon the study of law - First interest in religion - Questionings on the subject of prayer.

This inconsistency, the fact that they prayed so much and were not answered, was a sad stumbling block to me. I knew not what to make of it. It was a question in my mind whether I was to understand that these persons were not truly Christians, and therefore did not prevail with God; or did I misunderstand the promises and teachings of the Bible on this subject, or was I to conclude that the Bible was not true? There was something inexplicable to me; and it seemed, at one time, that it would almost drive me into skepticism. It seemed to me that the teachings of the Bible did not at all accord with the facts which were before my eyes.

 

 


CHARLES G. FINNEY TESTIMONIAL OF REVIVALS, CHAPTER XIII. - REVIVAL AT ROME. paragraph 3 Remarkable inquiry meeting - Great interest - Little H and her father - Death of a reviler - Conversion of Mr. H. - Visit of Sheriff B. - The spirit of prayer - Conversion of the officer's wife - Conversion of Mrs. C.

AT this time Rev. Moses Gillett, pastor of the Congregational Church in Rome, hearing what the Lord was doing in Western, came, in company with a Miss H, one of the prominent members of his church, to see the work that was going on. They were both greatly impressed with the work of God. I could see that the Spirit of God was stirring them up to the deepest foundations of their minds. After a few days, Mr. Gillett and Miss H came up again. Miss H was a very devout and earnest Christian girl. On their second coming up, Mr. Gillett said to me, "Brother Finney, it seems to me that I have a new Bible. I never before understood the promises as I do now; I never got hold of them before; I cannot rest," said he; "my mind is full of the subject, and the promises are new to me." This conversation, protracted as it was for some time, gave me to understand that the Lord was preparing him for a great work in his own congregation.

 

 


FINNEY ON THEOLOGY, LECTURE 11 - THE MORAL ATTRIBUTES OF GOD (CONTINUED part 2). paragraph 4 Veracity -- Disinterestedness -- Forbearance -- Long--suffering -- Self-denial -- Impartiality -- Beneficence -- Sovereignty.

It should be remembered that veracity is an attribute of benevolence. It expresses and reveals itself in keeping faith with his creatures for their good, and for the public good; its ultimate end always being the promotion of the highest good of being. The promises of God are of no value except upon the condition that veracity is one of his moral attributes. We trust his promises no farther than we have confidence in him in this respect. If we do not regard him as veracious -- if it be not settled with us, not merely as a conviction, but if our will be not committed to this conviction and in the attitude of trusting him, that is of confiding in his veracity, his promises will not avail us. If we plead them, we shall not rest in them. Hence it is that his promises are so little used. Many there are whose hearts are not in sympathy with his veracity; whose hearts are not committed to this attribute of love. They do not confide in it; hence to them the promises are of no avail.