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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 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 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.

 

 


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 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 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 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 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 785 677 Lecture XI. & XII The Promises- No.'s 1 - 5 ...

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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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.

 

 


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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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.

 

 


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.