The GOSPEL TRUTH
By Charles G. Finney
A Series of Lectures In Outline Form
Delivered to the Senior Ministerial Students at Oberlin College, Oberlin, Ohio 1874. [The following is from notes of Finney never published, not to be confused with his Lectures on Revival of Religion, published 1835 and after.]
I. WHAT IS RELIGION, PSYCHOLOGICALLY?A. Not a substance.
B. Not an infusion.
C. Not an involuntary feeling.
D. It is voluntary love to God and man.
E. This love has all the attributes of virtue.
F. God secures it by revealing himself to the soul.
G. The Spirit's influence is moral.
H. It is in accord with mental laws.
I. The following agencies are employed:1. The Holy Spirit
2. The subject
3. Often a third person.
J. The instrument is truth, universally. Hence there must be a philosophy in securing revivals.
II. WHAT IS A REVIVAL?A. It is the quickening of the love and faith that constitutes religion.
B. *It implies a religious declension. Evidences of:1. Loss of the spirit of prayer.
2. Condemnation revealed in prayer.
3. Praying only for self.
4. Neglecting prayer-meetings.
5. Loss of interest in preaching.
6. Loss of interest in the Bible.
7. Sleeping in meetings.
8. Complaining of long sermons.
9. Loss of interest in spiritual reading.
10. Loss of interest in religious labor.
11. Loss of interest in revivals.
12. A critical spirit regarding revivals.
13. A fear of religious emotion.
14. When deep spiritual feeling repels.
15. When they have left their first love.
16. Loss of brotherly love.
21. Pleasure seeking.
24. Pride, vanity, levity.
25. Apathy of sinners.
III. A GREAT PHILOSOPHICAL ERROR.A. That moral depravity is,1. Physical.
3. Transmitted by natural generation.
B. *Logical consequences:1. A great dearth of revivals.
2. Natural inability.
3. Regeneration a physical change
4. the Spirit's influences physical.
5. Subject passive.
6. No means of regeneration.
7. The carnal mind the substance of the soul.
8. The gospel can only excite enmity.
9. Human efforts to regenerate men vain.
10. Sinners must wait for a change of nature.
11. Sinners constantly reminded of inability.
12. Regeneration a miracle.
13. Sinners can only pray and wait. Enmity praying for holiness!!!
IV. TRUE PHILOSOPHY OF MORAL DEPRAVITY.A. Depravity is physical and moral.
B. Physical, is constitutional degeneracy, abnormal.
C. It has no moral character.
D. Moral depravity is selfishness.
E. Physical depravity is inherited, so acts as temptation.
F. Moral depravity is voluntary.
G. It is the wicked heart.
H. It is an immanent ultimate preference of self-indulgences.
I. It has no moral character till conscience is developed.
J. At birth, man is neither sinful nor holy.
K. Regeneration is a change of the ultimate preference from self to God.
L. It is the subject's act under divine teaching.
M. Hence it is a radical change of moral character.
N. Truth is the universal instrument.
O. The Spirit's influence moral, teaching.
P. The Gospel the appropriate means of regeneration.
Q. The Gospel the appropriate means of sanctification.
R. There must be a philosophy in adapting those means.
S. This is the appointed work of the ministry.
T. He who effectually uses these means is wise.
U. Unwisdom in the use of these means embarrasses or defeats the work of the Holy Spirit.
V. The end of theological study is to obtain the wisdom to win souls.
W. Christ has pledged his effectual help, Mt. 28:19-20.
X. Biblical efforts to win souls must, as a rule, succeed.
Y. The sinner's "cannot" is his "will not," hence,
Z. We should labor to gain his consent.
AA. Revivals are promoted by the skillful adaptation of appropriate means.
BB. What are appropriate means depends on all the facts.
CC. The sovereignty of God is never to be made a stumbling-block.
DD. The sovereignty of God is only divine benevolence guided by divine discretion.
EE. No more sovereignty in revivals than in all other things.
V. NECESSITY OF CLEAR CONCEPTIONS OF:A. What an unregenerate state is.
B. What a regenerate state is.
C. The nature of the change which you seek to produce.
D. The mental process to this result.
E. The sinner's moral nature.
F. The laws of mental action.
G. The instrument with which you are to work.
H. The necessity of divine cooperation, its nature.
I. The validity of Christ's promise.
J. All the agencies and instrumentalities to be employed.
K. What then? Your work is before you.
VI. CONDITIONS OF SUCCESS.A. Faith in Christ's promised help.
B. Anointing for each occasion.
C. The spirit of prevailing prayer.
D. Spiritual discernment.
E. Skill in teaching.
F. Intense love of souls.
G. Intense jealousy for God.
H. Intense sympathy with Him. False views of depravity compel us to condemn God, illustrated by Mrs. Gilbert.
I. Pity and indignation duly blended.
J. A searching spirit.
K. Moral courage.
L. Full consecration.
O. Divine co-operation.
P. Intense prayerfulness.
Q. Close walk with God.
R. Complying with the above, begin with backsliders,
VII. WORK.A. With backsliders, they have left first love.
B. With the unregenerate.
C. First work to convict them of sin.
D. Not of nature, but of voluntary action; of self seeking.
VIII. EXCITEMENT: USES AND ABUSESA. It is inevitable and universal,
B. It is useful.
C. Legitimately produced, not injurious.
D. Produced by clap-trap, most injurious.
E. Excited feeling is not religion.
F. It always precedes surrender.
G. A different kind always follows.
H. Excited feeling rivets attention.
I. It counteracts worldly excitement.
J. If not too intense, helps intellectual apprehension.
K. If too intense, it favors delusion.
L. Religious emotion breaks the bondage of the flesh.
M. It awakens others through the law of sympathy.
N. Especially important in the teacher.
O. It should be seen to be rational.
P. Helps to break the voluntary slavery of the will to worldly desire.
Q. Strongly favors self-renunciation, and committal to Christ.
R. The moral sensibility must be quickened.
S. The spiritual also.
IX. HOW DONE (HOW ARE PROPER EMOTIONS PRODUCED)?A. By strong feeling in the teacher.
B. By a quickened conscience in the teacher.
C. By a revival state of the teacher.
D. By a divine unction of the teacher.
E. By addressing the conscience of the hearer.
F. By applying the letter of the law to the outward life.
G. By applying the Spirit to the inward life.
H. The law of sympathy should have legitimate scope.
I. To object to this is absurd.
J. So is the talk about animal feeling.
K. So is the objecting to excitement.
L. Such objections prevent revivals.
M. Such objections arrest them.
N. Yet the objectors would not receive an unfeeling convert.
X. ABUSES OF EMOTION.A. The assumption that excitement is religion.
B. Resort to clap-trap, what I saw.
C. Resort to most exciting measures.
D. Stoking excitement to the extreme.
E. Appeals to superstition. (Smith)
F. Want of discrimination in the teacher.
G. Boisterous and vociferous appeals.
H. Direct attempts to produce intense weeping, injurious to convicted.
I. Affecting illustrations.
J. Inattention to ventilation.
K. Inattention to consequent nervous prostration.
L. Inattention to fanatical manifestations.
M. Inattention to revulsion in correcting them.
N. Error in denouncing opposition.
O. Consequent bitterness and censoriousness.
P. Right feelings sometimes overcome the body, false fire more often.
Q. But this is not religion.
R. Nor irreligion; nervous prostration.
S. The teacher must guard his own spirit.
T. The teacher must guard against confusion, excesses, and noises that divert attention and embarrass thought.
U. He must guard against enthusiastic claims to inspiration.
V. He must guard against enthusiastic claims to the possession of miraculous power.
W. Against being led by impulse, dreams, etc.
X. Against the delusions of Satan.
Y. Against the delusions of the imagination.
Z. Against yielding the will to mere feeling.
AA. This is the most common form of delusion.
BB. It is the result of a false philosophy.
CC. The will must be yielded to God by an act of trust, consecration and submission, and not to the impulse of excited feeling.
DD. Deep feeling is a condition but never the motive power of true conversion.
EE. This is the error of some revivalists, time will reveal the chaff.
XI. RELIGIOUS SENSIBILITY IMPORTANT.A. Unless quickened, converts will not stand.
B. They will not stand if too much quickened.
C. Here wisdom is needed but often not possessed.
D. This results in reaction and scandal.
E. Preachers and lay laborers should understand and harmonize in this.
F. If great excitement, the work must be short in that form.
G. If no excitement, the masses will not attend.
H. Hence revivals are a necessity in every age and country, and always have been.
I. This is proved by the state of every land and church where revivals are not.
J. The necessity may be deplored, but it is likely to be a fact.
XII. HOW IT (REVIVAL) BEGINS.A. Always by the Holy Spirit.
B. In answer to some wakeful soul.
C. Often by awakening providence.
D. Often by scandal in the church.
E. Often by something that shocks the pastor.
F. That is, the state of the church, or the state of youth.
G. Some movement of the enemy.
H. Something that awakens, convicts.
I. Humbles and agonizes the pastor.
J. Or church, or individual members.
K. Breaking up the slumbers of one or more, will indicate a work begun.
L. Or, some one or more is baptized with the Spirit of prayer.
M. Or an unusual solemnity and searching in the congregation.
N. A conviction that a revival is needed is a revival begun.
O. Don't fail to understand this.
P. Arise, and buckle on your armor.
XIII. MEANS (TO BE USED IN REVIVAL).A. Ascertain what the Spirit is doing.
B. Search the church, convict and humble them.
C. Break up the fallow ground and no longer sow among thorns. Secure mutual confession and reconciliation. Restore real harmony and trusting love. Often fasts are necessary.
D. A revival that leaves the church unblessed will almost certainly prove disastrous.
E. Unless the church take hold, it will be but partial and superficial outside.
F. It will be more or less general outside, as it is in the church.
G. Shape your labors to secure the hearty sympathy and co-operation of the church.
H. As fast as they are awake, set them judiciously at work, visiting the members.
I. Get the reclaimed and wakeful members together and agree upon a course of labor and action.
J. Press the necessity of much prevailing prayer.
K. Encourage, in every way, prayer-meetings.
L. Agree upon particular subjects of prayer, and to closet concerts.
M. Call attention to the promises, and encourage faith in prayer; two agreeing, New Lebanon.
N. Gather and relate facts and cases of answers.
O. Encourage requests for prayer, but do not carry this too far. Press the necessity for secret prayer.
P. Give yourself to much prayer.
Q. You must break down and lead on or be a stumbling-block.
R. Every member should come to the front.
S. Remind all who fail of the curse of Meroz, Judg. 5:23.
XIV. PREACHING (IN REVIVALS)A. Try to ascertain the real wants of the church. Don't neglect them.
B. Are they really revived?
C. Are they prepared to labor for the conversion of sinners.
D. Are they in sympathy with Jesus regarding sinners?
E. Are they well instructed for the work before them?
F. Prepare the rank and file. Don't go to battle alone.
G. The character and extent of the work among sinners depend upon the nature and extent of it among Christians.
H. Pray constantly for divine illumination.
I. Preach awakening sermons, stating dangers.
J. Show the spirituality of the law, that nothing short of perfect obedience is accepted. It claims perfect love.
K. Press this in every form, until you annihilate self-righteousness and convict moralists.
L. Show how unprepared they all are for heaven.
M. Dwell on the holiness of God and of heaven.
N. Show up their sin and its awful guilt; what sin is.
O. Prepare them to appreciate the love that can forgive them. Sin cannot consist in negation but in preference.
P. Prepare them to appreciate and understand the "Glad Tidings. "
Q. Do not be premature in offering mercy.
R. Lest they come to know Christ after the flesh merely. This is a common error.
S. Without conviction of sin, the necessity and significance of the Gospel cannot be appreciated.
T. Nor without this can repentance be secured.
U. Nor faith that works by love.
V. Nor humility, nor a broken heart, nor self-loathing, nor true concern for others, nor power in prayer, nor in short, can any Christian virtue be secured.
W. The law must prepare the way for the Gospel.
X. John the Baptist must prepare the way for Christ.
Y. The baptism of Moses, I Cor. 10:2, must precede the baptizing into Christ, by the Holy Spirit.
XV. TO MASSES, TO REPRESENTATIVE MEN AND WOMEN--MORAL SKEPTICS, HERETICS, SWATHS.A. Be sure to understand and deal kindly and fairly, but thoroughly, with them.
B. Preach the holiness of God, that his mercy is holy. This called for atonement.
C. "Without holiness no man shall see the Lord. " This is seldom preached.
D. That selfishness is enmity against God.
E. That they (those who are selfish) constantly violate their own standard.
F. That they are self-condemned.
G. That God must condemn them or they cannot justify him.
H. That they trample on God's rights, while they contend for their own.
I. That their business honesty is selfishness.
J. That whatever does not precede from faith and love is selfishness.
K. That nothing is really moral outside or short of entire obedience to the law of God. That is, of love.
L. That they have never performed any duty acceptable to God, or man.
M. That they are dead in sin.
N. That they must become dead to sin or salvation is [im]possible.
O. That intellectual belief is not faith.
P. Their utter unfitness for the employments, or enjoyments, of heaven.
Q. Such showing will annihilate their heresies, and arraign them at the bar of their own consciences.
R. When they accept the justice of their sentence, then offer them mercy in Christ.
S. But not before, for it will only afford them false encouragement.
T. It is false and ruinous to preach only mercy.
U. Insist upon the rights of God.
XVI. GALLIO'S (INDIFFERENT, CARELESS, OR EASY-GOING PERSONS (Word from Acts 18:17, a proconsul who refused to try Paul)A. Study to thoroughly awaken this class.
B. Give out some subject, if possible, that will excite their curiosity, or, in some way, to get them to meeting.
C. When there, pour your heart out to them in a manner that will convince them that you believe them to be in danger, with tender earnestness.
D. It is the apparent insincerity of professed Christians and ministers that allows them to remain careless.
E. They are generally very ignorant of religious truth and need very thorough and simple instruction.
F. They are seldom errorists, and when once aroused, are very certain to be soon converted, if well and immediately instructed.
G. If you can break ground in this Class, You may expect, if you deal wisely, to gain the class. They are not the Gospel--hearing and hardened class.
XVII. SELF-DECEIVED.A. This is, in many places, a large and influential class--appalling.
B. Their religion is selfishness, under a religious type.
C. The law and gospel promise reward to virtue. They conceive that virtue consists in aiming at and laboring for the reward.
D. This error is fatal and common, and must be corrected.
E. Many whole churches are self-deceived.
F. They must be shown that a disinterested love service is that alone to which a reward is offered.
G. They must be made to see that instead of serving God, they are endeavoring to serve themselves [instead] of God, to make God their servant.
XVIII. THERE ARE THOSE WHO SUPPOSE RELIGION TO BE AN INTELLECTUAL AFFAIR AND FAITH OPINION.A. They lay great stress on a creed. and little on a life of love.
B. These are hard to reach, and need peculiarly pungent dealing.
C. Without correct mental philosophy you cannot reach them at all.
D. They must be made to understand psychologically what religion is.
E. That without love they are nothing.
F. The attribute of love, as noticed in the 13th of I Cor. must be pressed upon their attention.
G. They must be hunted out of their proud refuges of lies.
H. This is the most pharisaical and difficult class to convict.
I. They clamor for doctrine, and are generally hyper-Calvinists, antinomians.
J. They are the people, and wisdom will die with them.
K. It requires great patience and wisdom to dislodge them.
XIX. OTHER DELUSIONS.A. Seeking our own, but so as not to injure others--selfishness. This is not Christian, not benevolence.
B. Desire mistaken for religion.
C. Desire mistaken for will.
D. Loss of conviction mistaken for conversion. Nothing is conversion, short of a radical change of will and life.
E. Protracted conviction and interest.
F. Light without love, uncharitableness.
G. Mistake gifts for graces. Do not fail to discriminate and search the church and converts. It will strengthen the true and convict the false.
H. An unsanctifying hope, I Jn. 3:3.
XX. THE AWAKENED.A. Need no more of the terrors of the Lord.
B. Don't mistake this for intelligent conviction, a common mistake.
C. Convict deeply, and they will love much.
1. Dwell on the loving-kindness of God.
2. They cannot justly infer their own security from this.
3. The goodness of God forbids their forgiveness in sin.
4. God has loved them, but they have not loved him.
5. They have hated God with an enmity of will, opposition.
6. Also with mortal hatred.
7. With supreme hatred.
8. Their heart has been fully set to do evil.
9. Suffer them not to take refuge in a sinful nature.
10. The more light, the greater guilt.
XXI. CONVICTED SINNERS.A. Don't mistake being convinced for conviction of sin.
B. Conviction is always attended with remorse and shame.
C. It always produces a sense of condemnation.
D. It always annihilates self-justification.
E. It always annihilates excuse-making.
F. It always annihilates murmuring against God.
G. It produces an awful sense of nakedness, helplessness, and lostness. If ignorant of the gospel plan, the convicted despair inevitably. Justification annihilates remorse.
H. When you see these manifestations of conviction, show them that God can forgive and on what conditions.
I. Point out the objections to the exercise of mercy; dangerous.
J. Make plain the distinction between Retributive justice and Public justice.
K. Show that no ruler can set aside the latter.
L. That Christ's life and death have so honored the law, and so condemned sin, as fully to meet the demands of public justice.
M. That, as a consequence, where there is true repentance and faith, the execution of retributive justice may be set aside.
N. That God delights in mercy and has made the atonement by His Son, to leave Him at full liberty to forgive even the chief of sinners.
O. There uncover the infinite mercy and compassion of God.
P. Hold these up until you secure repentance and faith.
Q. These will manifest themselves in the peace of the soul, which their whole appearance will indicate.
R. Sometimes conviction is so pungent that you cannot remove despair, through unbelief.
S. You will find the sinner fully justifying God, and hardly wishing to be forgiven.
T. He has no faith to ask it, and resigns himself to his fate.
U. This indicates faith in the character of God.
V. It also indicates submission, and yet a want of intelligence in regard to the gospel plan.
W. Make this plain, if you can.
X. But if you cannot, leave him to the teaching of the Spirit. He will enlighten him in due time.
Y. If he cannot trust in mercy, try to reconcile him to justice.
Z. Or to sovereignty. But make him understand that sovereignty is neither caprice nor arbitrary will, but love doing its duty to the public in the administration of law.
AA. Urge him to accept the punishment of his iniquity.
BB. Ask if he wishes God to forgive him, if to do so would dishonor God, and ruin all the rest.
CC. Urge him to leave himself unconditionally in the hands of God. To do this will involve faith.
DD. But if he would be forgiven whilst self is not abandoned, i. e. , though it would dishonor God and ruin others, he is still selfish and cannot be forgiven. Probe him thoroughly.
EE. Whilst self is not abandoned to the discretion of God, do not encourage hope--cruel to do so.
FF. Make thorough work, for looseness has destroyed millions. It is appalling to witness. Do all you can to prevent delusion.
XXII. DESPAIR (OR DESPAIRING SINNERS).A. Despair has various sources and demands various treatments. The subject demands much consideration and wisdom.
B. Sometimes it is the result of conviction by the law, and ignorance of the gospel. The remedy is at hand.
C. Sometimes from the belief that they have committed the unpardonable sin. (Gillett, Burt). If their conviction of sin is genuine, here is evidence that they are not given up.
D. This persuasion is almost always a temptation of Satan.
E. Sometimes despair results from horrible enmity. (Nash).
F. Sometimes from blasphemous thoughts with which Satan follows them up. Try to make them see this.
G. Sometimes from a peculiar state of nervousness. In all cases of despair there is more or less of this, therefore pay attention to the health.
H. Inquire into their habits of eating, drinking, dress, ventilation, drugging, sleep, exercise.
I. Sometimes despair is due to a misunderstanding of Scripture. Answers set them right, Heb. 6:4-6; 10:26.
J. Sometimes despair is incipient insanity acting up.
K. Despair is almost always a delusion, but is often most difficult to overcome.
L. It is always unbelief and should be treated as a sin.
M. If it can[not] be removed by inspiring faith and hope, strive to get the subject to accept his doom. (Philadelphia).
N. Sometimes the absurdity of despair may be shown to cure it, as in the case of Aunt Lucy (Governeur).
O. Sometimes it is the result of a deliberate purpose not to accept the conditions of salvation. i. e. , not to confess, not to forsake, not to make restitution.
P. Sometimes the result of experienced weakness and instability.
Q. Sometimes the result of a great fall into sin. Faith in Christ, if it can be Induced, is always an effectual remedy. Your own faith may help them to believe. If you have no faith for them you had better keep out of their way. Your want of hope for them will sink them.
R. Sometimes despair results from protracted but unintelligent efforts to become Christians.
S. Search out, and correct their mistake.
T. Sometimes because their prayers are not answered.
U. Often through constitutional hereditary despondency.
V. Often through a self-accusing spirit, the other extreme of a self-justifying spirit.
W. Both extremes are often a monomanias.
X. Some seem to lack hope almost entirely, on all subjects, and especially on religious subjects. They are apt to commit suicide.
Y. Persons in despair are often tempted to do this. Persistent secretiveness a sign of this temptation.
Z. Relapse into some bondage, from which there is no strength to rally, results in despair--tobacco, opium, drink, licentiousness, gambling, lying, stealing--every form of easily besetting sin.
AA. Despair often results from a belief that they are given up of the Holy Spirit. This is generally a delusion of Satan.
BB. Sometimes the result of a breach of covenant with God.
CC. Sometimes the persuasion that they are reprobates, and have all the characteristics of that doomed class.
DD. Sometimes despair results in horrible rebellion. (Celia)
EE. Sometimes in a general loss of confidence in everybody.
FF. Cases of despair demand much sympathy, consideration and prayer. Often, friends and brethren may be called to fasting and much wrestling.
GG. Study to adapt sermons to cases of despair.
HH. Despair often results from a legal spirit and effort (7th of Romans).
XXIII. CHRONIC DESPONDENCY (CASES).A. Billions of temperaments are subject to this.
B. This subject needs study. The effects of bodily states and habits on the mind, must be investigated by soul directors, or they will be physicians of no value.
C. Cases of chronic unbelief
XXIV. MEASURES--RISING FOR PRAYERS.A. *Objections.1. That it is imposing upon souls a condition not recognized in the gospel. Answer--This is a false conception. The design is to give them a privilege of making it a condition.
2. It operates as a snare, and repels and disgusts. Ans. It detects and exposes pride, and bondage to the world.
3. It encourages dependence on the prayers of others.
a. They should know that no sinner is converted in answer to his own prayer, that the prayers of the righteous prevail.
b. That if converted at all, it will be in answer to the prayers of Christians. They ought to know this.
c. That Christian's prayers cannot save them if they wait passively for an answer to their prayers.
d. That they must cease to resist or delay, and when prayed for, they should yield, submit, believe, repent, come to Christ.
e. The objections often reveal a want of confidence in the power of prayer, especially for others.
B. *Advantages.1. It rolls a burden of souls upon Christians.
2. It stimulates prayer and helps faith.
3. It encourages Christians and helps sinners:
a. To overcome their bondage to the speech of men.
b. It commits them as anxious persons.
c. It is often the condition of offering prevailing prayer for them.
d. Prayer for them is often answered on the spot.
4. Another advantage is, that it increases general confidence in the power of prayer.
5. Also it awakens others and encourages them to ask the prayers of Christians.
6. Facts justify it.
XXV. ANXIOUS SEAT.A. *Objections.1. It is imposing an unscriptural condition. Ans.--It is not imposing a condition, but a help:a. To break away from the pride of their hearts.
b. Also from their bondage to companions and friends.
c. From a regard to the speech of the world.
d. It commits them, and breaks the force of the temptation to procrastinate.
e. The invitation often reveals to themselves their great pride of heart and bondage to man.
2. It diverts attention at a critical moment. Ans.a. Instead of diverting attention, if the request be judiciously made, it helps to decision.
b. In dense crowds, it may divert attention, because of the difficulty of moving. Even then it compels decision.
c. It is better in such cases, to ask them to rise, or, to lift hands. To rise is best, as it better commits them.
3. It disgusts and repels many. Ans.a. Facts show that it attracts more than it repels and disgusts.
b. It carries conviction, if it does repel.
c. Consideration justifies it, and commends it to the most proud and rebellious. (Judge Gardner).
B. *Advantages.1. want of a test, to secure present action and decision, is often felt and acknowledged. (Hawes?).
2. Man have sinned openly, and should be called to as openly renounce their sins. This is reasonable.
3. They should be encouraged to publicly humble themselves before those who have known their relation.
4. It tends to secure present decision to be the Lord's.
5. The outward action depends on inward decision, and the effort to come, is often a real heart-coming.
6. Of course the invitation should be plainly and judiciously given, It may be to come to the altar for prayers.
7. If to submit, or renounce self and sin or, to come to Christ--or, to consecrate all to God the point to which you seek to gain their consent, should be made irresistibly plain, if possible.
8. The exact point at issue, should not only be held up in sunlight, but the reasons in favor of immediate decision should be urged with all possible force.
9. So state these as to compel assent, if possible, secure consent.
10. Without a test, assent will often be mistaken for consent. The test will expose the delusion.
OBJECTION: The act will afford relief from the struggle of pride, and may delude the soul by its taking this relief as evidence of conversion. Ans.a. This may be, but the delusion cannot last long.
b. Instruction and experience will soon correct the mistake.
11. Experience testifies to the great utility of this measure.
12. It greatly encourages Christians to see them come.
13. It awakens sinners, and draws careless ones to meeting.
14. It alarms backsliders, and increases by a natural law the public interest in the revival.
15. It produces much remark, and keeps the decision before the multitude.
16. It is in multitudes of cases, the turning point. (Gardner).
17. I scarcely ever knew it to fail of securing more or less conversions on the spot.
OBJECTION: If none come forward, or rise, it discourages and does harm. Ans.a. Not so. It often convicts sinners and humbles Christians. See Evans Mills.
b. I have often taken this course to convict sinners.
c. In such cases, the point, yes or no, should be so stated, that sitting still, will be a refusal to have Christ.
d. There is nothing unfair in putting them on the horns of this dilemma.
e. It is a plain duty to insist upon their present decision and declaration of purpose.
f. It is a failure to hedge them in and compel decision, that accounts for the barrenness of many ministrations.
g. Ministers often learn this after years of wasted labor.
h. The utmost pains should be taken to commit both saints and sinners to act upon present conviction.
i. To fail in this, is to lose your labor.
j. It is the great error of the ministry, to fail [to] make the impression, that people must act up to and upon present conviction. All classes are allowed to wait.
k. Professors often as much need a decisive test as sinners do.
l. God's method has always been, to bring souls into voluntary covenant with Himself. Joshua.
m. The Holy Spirit is striving to gain their consent. To urge them to submit, rather commit themselves, is just what we should do if we would cooperate with God.
n. The theology of natural sinfulness, passivity in regeneration, physical and irresistible divine influence in regeneration, led to discarding God's method of souls, and broke the power of the gospel for generations and for ages.
o. The reasonableness and necessity of the measures should be clearly shown, so as to make the measure a convicting power. Show that God demands decision.
p. Have faith in the measure, or you will make the appeal too timidly.--Some never dare to do it.
q. Be very explicit and honest, in preparing them to make an intelligent decision.
r. Make the issue to be that of yes, or no, so that they cannot help seeing and feeling the responsibility of deciding yes, or no.
s. Show them the danger of a negative decision.
t. The probability of its being final for life or death.
u. Experience abundantly attests this.
v. I have known thousands of cases where "yes" proved to be the saving decision.
w. And many, where "no" proved to be fatal, and in several, their last opportunity. (Lancaster, Brown's Lane, London, and many others. )
XXVI. CALLING TO ANOTHER ROOM.Asking them to remain after the congregation is dismissed, or to go into the vestry or other separate room, for more specific instruction. Dr. Campbell's, London.
A. This will give you a select audience.
B. State clearly the class invited. If need be, request no others to remain, or to go.
C. Then suit your instruction to the class invited.
D. You may invite the class desiring personal conversation
E. Or, the class inquiring and seeking specific instruction.
F. Or, those who think themselves willing to become Christians. These need to be shown their mistake.
G. Or, those who are anxious to decide, and to make their peace with God, before they go home.
H. Or, those who have lost their evidence of acceptance.
I. Or, backsliders, who have lost their first love.
J. Or, who are anxious to return to God.
K. Or, those in spiritual darkness and despondency.
L. Or, those who are convicted of hardness of heart.
M. Or, who have lost their peace and religious enjoyment.
N. Or, their heart interest in the Bible, in prayer, and in religious meetings and conversation.
O. Or, those who fear they have been self-deceived.
P. Or, souls oppressed with a sense of guilt.
Q. Souls in any conscious bondage.
R. Or, souls that have shunned a cross, and grieved the Spirit.
S. Or that have wandered, and can't find the way back.
T. Or who fear they are given up for disobedience.
U. Or souls afflicted with skeptical doubts.
V. Or souls who have not the power to prevail with God.
W. Or who have professed, but never had prevailing power.
X. Or, professors who have never had established peace and hope.
Y. Or who have never been baptized and sealed by the Holy Spirit.
Z. Or who have never known the divinity of Jesus by the Spirit.
AA. Or who do not know Christ as a Savior from sin.
BB. Or who have lost or never had conscious communion with Him.
CC. Or who are convicted of conformity to the world.
DD. Or who are seeking permanent sanctification.
EE. Or who are seeking to be restored to Divine favor.
FF. Or who long to return to their first love, who lament after God.
GG. Or who are seeking the conversion of their children.
HH. Or, of their companions in life, husband or wife.
II. Or, of particular friends.
JJ. Those who seek instruction on the subject of prevailing prayer.
KK. Or, any question of experience and duty which you may discover as a necessity of a class.
LL. Any class that needs to be tided over a bar or shoal.
MM. Or that is disposed to come out from the world.
NN. Or to renew, their covenant with God.
OO. Or who desire instruction on the higher Christian life.
PP. Or who find themselves unstable and weak.
QQ. Or, who are willing to commit themselves to work, or need instruction as to the manner.
RR. The secret of wide-spread revival, so far as our work is concerned, is to get at and call to a decision, all the different classes.
SS. Of course, the different classes should be called out one by one, as they reveal themselves to you.
TT. Revivals are not half complete, unless the various classes are sought out and duly instructed.
UU. Evangelists generally must leave much to be finished up.
VV. If the pastor is ignorant, the evangelist should hold on, and help the work through.
XXVII. MEETINGS FOR INQUIRY AND ANXIOUS MEETINGS.A. *Design of.1. To ascertain their whereabouts or spiritual state.
2. To give opportunity for questions and answers.
3. To ask questions yourself, and draw out an answer.
4. To classify and adapt instruction to all the classes.
5. To correct their errors, to secure their immediate repentance, faith and consecration.
B. *Notice of.1. Be general at first, if you please, and invite who wish to enquire respecting their salvation.
2. If need be, invite only classes specifically named.
3. Restrict more or less, from time to time, as seems expedient.
4. Call different classes from day to day, as seems necessary and expedient.
C. *Conduct of.1. Explain the design and importance of the meeting.
2. Urge the necessity of honesty and frankness.
3. Show how fatal to them concealment or dishonesty will be. Illustrate by a patient concealing his real symptoms, or a client concealing from his counsel.
4. Then pray, and precede to converse, and search them out.
5. Aim only to find where they are and what they need, in this personal inquiry, and tell them that you will instruct them in your summing up at the close.
6. Don't spend too much time with individuals, or many will get tired and go out. The devil will take this course.
7. You will soon have to learn to distinguish the different classes present.
8. There is order and unity in the Spirit's work, and hence you will soon learn that He is producing the same convictions and raising the same inquiry in many minds at the same time.
9. Practice will help you as it does a physician.
10. You will find one class only partially awakened. Show up their irrational apathy, arouse their fears.
11. Also those who are thoroughly awakened but lack conviction. Show up the depth of their sin and guilt.
12. Also the thoroughly convicted.
13. A bewildered class, through false instruction, but waiting to be converted. Press consecration.
14. A cavilling class. Don't dispute with them.
15. Those trying to make themselves better by reformation
16. Or by reading their Bible and praying.
17. Or waiting for conversion in the use of means.
18. Or disposed to do penance, and wait God's time.
19. Or trying to feel more, and waiting to feel right.
20. Or making preparation to come to Christ.
21. Or not convicted enough, and trying to get more.
22. Or troubled with hardness of heart.
23. Or need to make confession and restitution.
24. Or have an old and unsanctifying hope.
25. Or have lost their conviction and concern, and incline to hope.
26. Or, who are relapsing into indifference.
27. Those full of error, and far from the kingdom of God.
28. Others on the very verge of the kingdom.
29. Make each class a distinct head, in summing up.
30. Aim at throwing the net around the greatest possible number, and drawing it ashore.
31. Take away every excuse.
32. Correct every error.
33. Hunt them out class by class, and call on all who can see their way, to come over to Christ.
34. Call on all who will come, to kneel and then offer them all up, in a solemn prayer.
XXVIII. DIRECTIONS TO THE CONVICTED.A. Distinguish in summing up, and in all labor with sinners and backsliders, between the merely awakened and the thoroughly convicted.
B. Remember you are not dealing with skeptics, but with those who profess to believe the Bible.
C. With this class, to make faith in Christ a present duty, and the condition of acceptance, will be unintelligible. They think they do believe.
D. Be sure to make them understand that faith is not an intellectual assent, but the confidence or trust of the heart, a committal.
E. With those of no religion, or of another religion, the question of faith in Christ as the true God and the only Savior, should be pressed and consented to.
F. With Unitarians and Deists, conviction should be pressed until they feel shut up to Christ, as a Divine Redeemer, or to damnation--atonement, or no mercy.
G. Different classes need different final texts.
H. Explain to one class the test of entire consecration.
I. To another, the coming out of and renouncing the world.
J. To another, giving up their unlawful business.
K. To another, giving up their unholy and unlawful connections.
L. To another, their pride and aristocratic spirit.
M. To another, their ambitious projects.
N. To another, their bad habits.
O. To another, to make confession to all injured.
P. To another, restitution to God and man.
Q. See that the direction, If accepted, is saving.
R. The test must involve will submission, repentance, and faith--a change of heart.
S. The point made, should be judiciously adapted to the issue the sinner is making with God.
T. It may be the holding on to some idol.
U. Or, to some besetting sin, or friend, or lover.
V. It may be self-will, or fear of man, or prejudice.
W. Whatever point the soul is committed not to yield, must be yielded--dress, ornaments. (Mrs. Gillett, Esq. Wright. )
X. Some fear a call to the ministry.
Y. Some to be foreign missionaries.
Z. Some to be poor in this world.
AA. Some know that they must make great and fundamental changes in the manner of conducting their business.
BB. They should be required to abandon themselves--their property, plans, and ambitions to God.
CC. To rub all out, and begin a new life, wholly under the direction of God.
DD. Repentance should be shown to be a radical change of mind, and not any mere feeling.
EE. So, faith should be defined as a personal trust in a personal Savior.
FF. Submission should be defined as a cordial acceptance of God's whole will.
GG. Consecration, as a state of making all we are and have and do, a perpetual offering to God.
HH. Each and every duty, or test, or the point insisted on, should be spiritually explained, and its true psychology stated, and pressed as present duty, and then call for present decision.
II. Search should be made after things kept back, and not fully surrendered to God.
JJ. Some may be consciously or unconsciously influenced by motives that, will defeat them--politics, (Goodell and Andrews. ) it may be some love affair.
KK. Some sin covered up--crime, bad habits.
XXIX. DEALING WITH PROFESSED CONVERTS.A. *Importance.1. Do not give them a hope, except in rare cases.
2. In certain cases, don't allow them to hope. (Mrs. Beman).
3. Where self-indulgence is still manifested.
4. Where their hope is not sanctifying, I Jn. 3:3.
5. Where they will not give up bad habits--drink, tobacco--when shown the sinfulness of such practices.
6. Where they neglect confession and restitution.
7. Where they are loose in business.
8. Neglecting their creditors--small debts, to pay notes, for periodicals.
9. Dishonest and selfish in any relations.
10. Remiss in domestic relations--husband or wife.
11. Or as parents, children, brother, sister, servants.
12. Where they manifest an unforgiving spirit.
13. Or an uncharitable spirit--censorious.
14. When their religion is not love, but fanatical zeal.
15. When the heart is not broken, will unsubdued.
16. When prejudice is unsubdued, not candid.
17. When hard feelings are still indulged.
18. When heretical positions are still maintained.
19. When the soul is not humble, candid, teachable.
20. When not of a child-like spirit, sectarian.
21. Where there is manifest pride and vanity.
22. Or a bitter, fanatical spirit, denunciatory.
23. Or a wild, disorderly spirit, unruly, self-will.
24. Where there is a spirit of levity, absence of holy fear.
25. Or a bondage to appetite, no matter which.
26. Or bondage to the world, fear of man predominant.
27. In proportion to the appearance of the above, care should be taken not to encourage hope.
28. Now is the time, if ever, to cure these defects.
29. Call attention at once to any defect which is discovered.
30. If the Spirit of God is in them, they will amend.
31. Do it kindly, but thoroughly, and show them what are the Scripture evidences for or against them.
32. See if they have accepted their sentence.
33. Whether they know Jesus, and have His Spirit, Rom. 8:9.
34. Whether they are truly prayerful.
35. Whether they have true peace with God.
36. And with all men--all enmities slain.
37. Whether they take and bear the cross.
38. Whether they are living up to their best light.
39. Whether their reformation is universal, or only partial.
40. Whether they are aiming to live wholly, or only partially to the Lord.
41. Whether they loathe their former selves.
42. Whether they are indeed new creatures.
43. Whether old things are passed away, and all things become new.
44. Whether they have really given up all For Christ.
45. Whether body, soul, reputation, possessions, plans of life, and all the future, are fully left at the disposal of God, and this consistently adhered to.
46. Whether pointing out a wrong or a defect will set them at once to correct it.
47. Whether they are striving and longing to live wholly without sin, up to their ideal.
48. Whether the thought of sinning against God is terrible to them.
49. Whether they have renounced the world.
50. Whether their vanity is subdued--ornaments.
51. Whether worldly ambition is renounced. (Bloss).
52. Whether they renounce injurious employments.
53. Whether they trade in injurious articles.
54. Whether they are still selfish and unscrupulous.
55. Whether in all things conscientious, or loose.
56. Whether they love to pray and labor for souls.
57. Or are content to nurse their own hope.
58. Whether they love and engage in much secret prayer.
59. Whether the Bible is unsealed to them.
60. Whether the scales have fallen from their spiritual eyes.
61. Whether they are taught and led by the Holy Spirit.
62. Whether they have the witness of the Spirit that they are the children of God, the Spirit of adoption, constrained by love.
63. Whether the atonement of Christ has any place in the things they have been taught.
64. Whether their experience embraces all the fundamental doctrines of Christianity.
B. If satisfied that they are truly converted,1. See that they are not left to hope and enjoy, without instruction in and attending to all duty.
2. A servant is to serve, and not to wait to be served.
3. That he may serve with efficiency, urge much prayer, secret, with frequent fastings, and renewal of consecration.
4. Family, social, public, if occasion demands.
5. Never to shrink if called on to pray.
6. If convenient, hear them pray, and frequently.
7. See whether they have the true spirit of prayer.
8. Whether this continues, and does not abate.
9. Warn them upon the least appearance of falling off.
10. Lay the utmost stress upon prevailing prayer.
11. Keep them in mind of the revealed conditions.
12. To keep themselves in the love of God, praying in the Holy Ghost.
13. Watching thereunto, lest the Spirit be grieved and quenched.
14. Warn continually against self-indulgent practices.
15. Urge a fundamental temperance in all things.
16. In society, evil-speaking, talebearing, uncharitableness, evil surmisings, envy, jealousy, enmities, hardness.
18. Worldly ambitions.
19. Self-seeking in anything.
20. Against the beginnings of compromise with the world.
21. Against easily-besetting sins, self-will, self-conceit
22. Against shunning any cross at any time or place.
23. Self-righteousness, self-complacency, egotism.
24. Study their temperament and suit instructions and warnings to them.a. If given to self-esteem, clip them.
b. If they are given to despondency, encourage them.
c. If to levity, sober them.
d. If to pride and affectation, probe and humble them.
e. If timid, encourage and strengthen them.
f. If obstrusive and self-confident be plain, specific, faithful.
g. Correct in due time, every error in doctrine or practice.
h. Lead them to know and appropriate, Christ in all his relations.(1)As Redeemer from the custody of justice or law
(2)As justification, sanctification, etc.
25. Teach them how to keep out of bondage by simple faith.a. By Implicit faith.
b. If they fall into any sin, to make immediate confession, restitution if need be.
c. To make a clear breast of it.
d. Not to stop short of conscious restoration to favor
e. Urge re-consecration and fuller sealing of the Spirit.
f. Don't let them rest in any supposed consecration that is not followed with a fresh baptism and shedding abroad of the love and joy, and peace of God in their hearts.
g. Teach that the baptism of the spirit is distinct from, and subsequent to consecration or conversion. Acts 19:2; Eph. 1:13; II Cor. 1:22.
h. That this unsealing is the condition of stability.
i. In my experience, a fresh anointing, has followed every sound renewal of entire consecration.
j. God has not been slow to manifest his acceptance of my offering, and to shed Himself abroad in my heart.
k. Lead them to expect the endowment of power, for the performance of duties, especially of important ones.
l. See that they keep all upon the altar of consecration.
m. Be jealous of them, in this regard.
n. Inquire how they spend their time and money.
o. Servants must not be idle, must not purloin.
p. Keep before them the fact, that selfishness is sin, self-indulgence.
q. Give them no rest in any form of sin, or indulgence that is sinful.
r. Guard them equally against legality, and antinomian license. Doing duty is condition and not the ground of acceptance.
s. Always find enough for them to do. An idle Christian is already a backslider.
t. Teach them the various relations of Christ, and how and when to appropriate them.
u. The church still remains lamentably ignorant of the manifold official relations of Christ.
v. This knowledge is indispensable, both in times of great temptation, and under divine searching.
w. Aim at developing a symmetrical Christianity.
x. Aim to make them stable, as opposed to spasmodic.
y. Warn them against resisting, grieving, quenching the Spirit.
XXX. LEGALITY.A. Before the fall, man needed no law but the love that was in his heart.
B. He needed only instruction, law as a test.
C. After the fall, the law was introduced as a rule of life, but not as the way of salvation.
D. The design was to restrain transgression, until Christ came, Gal. 3:19.
E. It appealed to hope and fear, as the only motives that could be influential, in the absence of love.
F. It proved a snare, because both its spirituality and its design were misapprehended.
G. Men sought to obey it, influenced only by its threatenings and promises, and not by love.
H. This is self-righteousness, bondage to God[sin?].
I. Obedience only outwardly, and in the letter.
J. It led, of course, to a slavish spirit and service.
K. To a selfish effort to secure the favor of God.
L. The ceremonial law was a foreshadowing of the gospel, but was regarded as a covenant of works. The spiritual Jews partially understood the typical teaching of this law.
M. Paul was, at first a zealous asserter of the legal way of salvation. duty doing.
N. The gospel opened his eyes, and his apostolic life was devoted to the correction of this error.
O. But a modified form of legality is the religion of multitudes of professed Christians.
P. This is really the religion of all who do not so know Christ, as to be constrained by love.
Q. They are still influenced by legal motives.1. By the idea of right, without love.
2. They overlook the fact that nothing is right, but love and its manifestations.
3. The idea of duty, also without love.
4. They overlook the fact that nothing can be duty, that is not love, or the fruit of love.
5. Fear--must be religious, or go to hell; must do duty or be lost. Duty is hard, but the less of two evils.
6. Hope--religion is not only safe, but profitable, selfishness and self-righteousness elevate their aims.
R. Awakened, convicted, fall to reforming, praying, using means--all selfish, of course.
S. Make up their minds to serve the Lord as the condition of salvation.
T. They seek rest, salvation, happiness, and religion as a means--all this is, of course, legality.
U. But not having Christ formed within them, their religion is without love, and therefore unsaving, I Cor. 13.
V. It is a bond service, and can be nothing better.
W. This is the religion illustrated in the 7th of Romans.
X. Of bondage to the law.
Y. Also to the law of sin and death in the members.
Z. Also to the world, can't overcome the love and fear thereof.
AA. Are led captive by Satan in entire ignorance of the fact.
BB. This religion reveals itself In confession without reformation.
CC. Prayers reveal their sense of condemnation.
DD. Legal hymns, reason and hear her counsels weigh.[?]
EE. It is a religion of conscience, such as Paul had before his conversion--not a religion of love.
FF. Such persons are sincere in their efforts to obey, but having no love all is failure.
GG. It is without love, and of course, without help or comfort.
HH. Prayer, worship, etc. , are duties without communion.
II. They never rise above the sense of duty into the perfect liberty of love.
JJ. To them the commands of God are grievous, and obedience impossible.
KK. What they understand to be Christ's yoke is heavy, and his burden grievous to be born.
LL. Wisdom's ways are ways of unpleasantness, and her paths are not paths of peace.
MM. Their experience is the opposite of Jn. 3:3-9.
NN. A legal ministry has misled the church.
OO. A legal religion they have always heard preached, prayed, and sung.
PP. They are slaves, afraid to accept their freedom.
QQ. They make faith an intellectual state, and of course think they believe in Christ.
RR. Of course, conscience is not at rest, and hence they have many doubts and fears, and distrust those who have not.
SS. They can't expect to be holy in this life, in the body.
TT. Legal ministers can preach souls into, but not out of, bondage.
UU. Beget slaves in their own likeness, and fill their churches with them.
VV. Great conscientiousness in discharge of what they conceive as duty, is their highest ideal of religion.
WW. Of real Christian love and consequent liberty, they have no conception.
XX. Of course, this religion is not sanctifying, and for this reason, not saving.
YY. Wonderful that their sense of condemnation does not teach them that they are not forgiven.
ZZ. Why don't they learn, that if their consciences condemn them, God, of course, condemns them.
AAA. Why not see that if their experience is Christianity, Christ is not what he professes to be, the Savior from sin.
BBB. This religion so common as to stumble the world.
CCC. Your confessions, say they, prove that Christ is not what he professes to be.
XXXI. GOSPEL RELIGION.A. *John the Baptist's mission.1. To prepare the nation to receive their Messiah.
2. Also by preaching repentance, to convict of sin.
3. To explain the law as to annihilate self-righteousness
4. He purified with water, and directed them to Christ, for the purifying of the Holy Spirit.
5. Christ's life and preaching were designed to illustrate the spirit of the law, convict of sin, and prepare them to understand the significance of his mission and death. Mal. 3:1-5; Sermon on the Mount.
B. *Design of Christ.1. To win the world to confidence and love.
2. To destroy their false hopes.
3. Overcome their prejudice, enmity and unbelief.
4. Also, their selfish and self-righteous efforts to secure eternal life.
C. *Peace proclaimed.1. Hence, at his birth, the angels proclaim "peace on earth, and good will to men"--decree of universal amnesty.
2. The angels proclaimed to the shepherds glad tidings, of great joy to all people, Lk. 2:8-10.
3. This announcement made to people entangled in the meshes of the law, and condemned by the preaching of John.
4. Those who understood it, found themselves forgiven, and provided for, on the simple condition of their acceptance of it.
5. The gift was unconditional.
6. Their acceptance was a natural condition of their coming into possession of the gift. The gift secured the grateful acceptance.
7. But it annihilated every motive to legality.
8. Restored lost confidence, and drew the apostles and those who believed the glad tidings into intense sympathy, with the heart and work of God in Christ.
9. Changed their legal into an unselfish love--consecration.
10. But this was not understood and consummated, until the baptism of the Spirit at Pentecost.
11. From this point, the apostles and brethren proclaimed a free and full and present salvation by law, or works. It placed reconciliation on an entirely new basis, as they understood it.
12. The sacrificial death of Christ so reveals the love and mercy of God, as to win the implicit confidence and love of the soul that understands it.
13. It establishes the love, required by the law, in the heart.
14. Henceforward, obedience is spontaneous. It is law of liberty written in the heart; Jer. 31:31; James 1:25; Heb. 8:10.
15. Instead of using means to win the favor of God, the soul is secure of his love and favor and has no selfish reason for legal service. It has nothing to do for self.
16. It is left entirely free to act out its heart's love and trust
17. It knows it has eternal life, as a free and unconditional gift.
18. Of course, it has not to work for it.
19. It knows also, that "God has given to all his saints, all things that pertain to life and godliness," II Pet. 1:3
20. Also, "exceeding great and precious promises," 1:4.
21. As soon as it is baptized by the Holy Spirit, it is conscious of the daily welling up in the soul, of the living water--Christ forming within the soul.
22. Christ an effectual, indwelling and eternal life.
23. It has the same love and consecration that God has.
24. Hence has the same liberty that Christ has.
25. The same restraints and constraints of love alone.
26. Christianity is liberty, because God is in Christians.
27. Observe, I speak of Christian, not legal religion.
28. The whole of the Christian religion is a spontaneous love service, and hence the highest form of liberty.
29. All other experiences are legal, and not Christian.
30. This experience begins with the first true conversion to Christ.
31. True conversion involves repentance, faith, love, consecration.
32. This is the new birth, beginning of a new life.
33. This is doubtless a present sinless state.
34. But to be permanent, it needs the seal of God's acceptance and confirmation, earnest of our inheritance Eph. 1:13-14; II Cor. 1:22.
35. It needs the anointing that abideth, I Jn. 2:27.
36. Without this, there will be at best an alternation of liberty and legality, in the experience of the converted.
37. What is Christian, and what is legal in our experience should not be confounded.
38. It is common to confound them and call both Christian experience, because converted persons are commonly, at different times, subjects of both experiences.
39. The design of Paul in the 7th and 8th of Romans was to distinguish clearly between what is legal and what is Christian, in human experience.
40. Those who have no experience of the 8th are not Christians.
41. If they have known the 8th, and fallen to the 7th, they have lost their love and faith, and lapsed into legality.
42. The 7th of Romans experience is bondage and condemnation, and cannot be Christian or saving.
43. In Christian experience all performance of duty is spontaneous, constrained by neither hope or fear, but only by love.
44. Hence, the performance is enjoyed, "blessed in his doing," James 1:25.
45. Hence, Christian self-denial, cross-bearing, self-sacrifice for Christ and souls, are enjoyed.
46. This is incomprehensible to a legal, or an unloving Soul. "It is more blessed to give than to receive. "
47. The call to self-sacrifice is a stumbling-block to the selfish soul. But it can't be helped, it was to the Jews.
48. The difference between a legal and gospel religion, is that between slavery and freedom.
49. The slave obeys because he must, the free man clings to, and serves his master from love and sympathy.
50. Likewise between a conscientious, unloving, but dutiful wife, who resolves to do her duty, but of course, wholly fails, and one whose whole heart is given to and is spontaneously with the husband.
51. Her husband's will is hers, his wish is hers, hence, his law is in her heart, and she needs no other.
52. She is free to do as she pleases just because she pleases to please her husband.
53. So with real Christians. They are at liberty to do as they please, just because they please to please Christ.
D. *Remarks--How to preach the Gospel1. Remember the rule of life is the same under both the law and the gospel.
2. But the terms of salvation, opposite.
3. Salvation as a gift cannot be accepted until all self-righteousness is annihilated.
4. Hence, the necessity of first playing John the Baptist.
5. I am always, at first, accused of this.
XXXII. GOSPEL LIBERTY--THE BAPTISM OF JESUSA. This is a condition of a state of true gospel liberty.
B. In Jer. 31:31 we have the promise of the new and heart covenant.
C. In Heb. 8:9 we have the assurance that this promise has become due.
D. In Ezek. 36:25-26, we have the promise of sanctification, or of a clean heart, by the spiritual baptism of Christ.
E. In the 14th, 15th and 16th chapters of John, we have repeated promises by Christ of great spiritual illumination after his departure, and that this Spirit should be a personal and abiding presence in them, Jn. 14:23
F. That this should be an indwelling presence, of which they should be conscious, Jn. 14:16-17.
G. And that this should be abiding, 14:16.
H. That He should glorify Jesus, by fully revealing Him to them, 16:7,13,14,15.
I. These promises began to be fulfilled on the day of Pentecost.
J. They were all made, not to the impenitent, but to converted persons.
K. This is a blessing sought and received distinct from, and after conversion.
L. So the apostles understood it, and prayed many days before they received It.
M. In II Cor. 1:21-22, it is spoken of as a sealing, by the "earnest of the Spirit," confirming.
N. In Eph. 1:13-14, it is again recognized as a sealing by the "earnest, etc. "
O. And as distinct from, and subsequent to conversion.
P. All the promises to which I have referred, in the Old Testament, and in the New, are made to converted persons, and are fulfilled to them after they have believed.
Q. So they were understood and treated.1. The day of Pentecost.
2. Acts 19:1-6.
R. This baptism of the Spirit is held by some to be sanctification, but the Bible treats it as a blessing to be given to the already obedient. To them and to no others, did Christ promise it, Jn. 14:15,21,23.
S. An obedient state of mind is the invariable condition of these promises.
T. They are made and, fulfilled only to souls already consecrated.
U. This anointing is designated to establish us in Christ, and in a state of consecration to him, II Cor. 1:21.
V. It is a sealing of the consecrated by the "earnest of the Spirit," II Cor. 1:22.
W. In experience, it is a powerful revelation, and putting on of the Lord Jesus Christ, In his official relations.
X. This revelation of Christ, breaks up, subdues, and rectifies the sensibility--cleansing, Ezek. 36:26.
Y. Thus it breaks the power of the sensibility over the will.
Z. It also quickens and establishes emotional and affectional love of the sensibility.
AA. It introduces the soul into a higher form of Christian experience.
BB. Until this baptism, Christ is not known in the soul, as a living loving presence.
CC. Indeed, it is a baptism of God, as love.
DD. A fulfillment of Christ's promise to reveal himself by his Spirit to, and take up his abode in, the soul, as a conscious presence.
EE. Christ promises this fullness to the hungering and thirsting after righteousness, converted persons, of course.
FF. This baptism introduces the soul to a state of gospel liberty.
GG. The highest form of liberty is doing as we please.
HH. This baptism is such a wedding of the soul to Christ, that from thence it is restrained and constrained by his love.
II. It is a writing and fulfilling of Christ's law of love in our hearts, Jer. 31:31-34; Rom. 8:2,3.
JJ. From hence, the objective law, as commandment, is not needed, because the love required is fulfilled and established in the soul
KK. From hence, it is the "royal law of liberty," and religion is a spontaneous love-service.
LL. Abiding in this state, the soul enjoys the highest conceivable liberty, the liberty of God.
MM. The promises of this baptism have been much neglected.
NN. The necessity and experience of this blessing have been controverted.
OO. But these are only negative witnesses, their testimony amount to nothing.
PP. The positive witnesses are legion.
QQ. This anointing is indispensable to true and permanent gospel liberty.
RR. It is a condition of safe religious teaching.
SS. Without it, religious teachers will only beget slaves
TT. Hence, the mass of professed Christians are still in the 7th of Romans.
UU. The conditions of receiving this baptism are:1. Consecration and an obedient spirit. See Christ's promise, Jn. 14:15,16,23.
2. Asking in faith, with a hungering and thirsting after the righteousness of God.
3. By apprehending Christ for it, by faith, implicit.
VV. Remarks:1. Beware of seeking an experience instead of seeking Christ, by whom this experience is given.
2. Beware of negative testimony.
3. This blessing is not sanctification, but God's acceptance of it.
4. It is not the blessing of holiness, but only God's acceptance and confirmation of it.
5. Converts will lose their first love unless they receive this baptism.
6. Don't fail to insist on this.
7. Or they will fall into a 7th of Roman's experience, which is legal and not gracious.
XXXIII. PRAYER -- WHAT IS IT? ASKING FAVOURS OF GOD.A. Popularly--Praise, worship, thanksgiving, confession, supplication, communion with God.
B. Reasons.1. Dictate of nature.
4. Our relations to God.
6. His relations to us.
7. Its subjective utility.
8. Its objective utility.
9. Command of God.
10. Invitations of God.
13. Omnipotent power.
14. Condition of blessing
15. Of growth in grace, success.
16. Of power with God or man.
17. Secures wisdom.
18. Secures the baptism of the Spirit.
19. Clothes with virtual omnipotence, promises.
20. The most blessed of all employments.
21. Also the most useful.
22. The most hallowed
23. The most indispensable.
24. The most honorable.
25. The most profitable--to God, to the church, to the world, to self--nothing so far reaching as prayer.
26. No employment so certain of success.
27. Has no substitute.
28. Neglect can't be afforded.
29. Neglect is ruin to self.
30. Neglect is cruelty to others.
31. Neglect is displeasing to God.
32. Neglect involves unspeakable guilt
33. Neglect leaves us covered with the blood of lost souls.
34. Also, our own.
35. Neglect exposes us to universal execration.
36. Faithfulness will secure eternal reward.
XXXIV. OBJECTIONS TO PRAYER.A. Divine omniscience, Answer: Prayer not designed to inform God.
B. Unchangeableness of God. Ans: To answer does not imply a change in God, either of nature or character. Prayer supplies the condition of certain divine actions.
C. Laws of nature. Ans:1. Their uniformity not an intuitive truth, only an induction.
2. Uniformity of effects from same cause is an intuitive truth.
3. Prayer may introduce a new cause and reverse or modify results.
4. Science can't disprove this.
5. To answer the prayer of faith is one of God's laws of action.
6. Nature and revelation contradict the mechanical philosophy.
7. We modify the operation of nature's laws by every free volition.
8. Materialists admit that prayer must belong to the chain of physical cause and effect.
9. The interference of free spiritual agents breaks up the continuity of material action.
10. Every moral agent exerts a continuous supernatural, or super-material, agency.
D. The supposition of an interfering Providence implies an imperfection in creation. Ans:1. Imperfection is a want of adaption to its end. God's end not the manifestation of mechanical skill, but moral.
2. The interference system the most perfect.
3. This the system of revelation and experience.
E. It is a reflection upon divine goodness. Ans:1. No, but an illustration of it.
2. He seeks communion for our good.
3. And for his own good, and glory.
4. We need to be shut up to much prayer
5. If prayer were not necessary, atheism would result.
6. Afflictions often come to compel us to pray more, to seek help.
F. Promises too much, James 5:14-15. Ans:1. Faith is the gift of God.
2. So all men might be saved, if they would believe.
3. God secures faith, where he wisely can.
4. It is possible to save all lives by prayer, but unbelief prevents--the promise limited by Heb. 9:27.
G. Promises are upon impossible conditions. Ans.:1. No. Eternal life already given, I Jn. 5:11, so there is ground for faith before faith.
2. Same is true of all things pertaining to life and godliness, II Pet. 1:3.
3. These things are given to all for whom we should pray
4. But we never pray in faith without divine inspiration,
5. This inspiration is equivalent to a specific promise.
6. A close walk will secure much of this.
H. May be deceived. Ans. : Yes, false prophets were, but the true knew they were not deceived.
I. Some questions.1. Do we sin, in not saving all lives by prayer? Ans. :a. For this would be contrary to the revealed will of God.
b. We know not what particular lives God would save.
c. We need the guidance of the Holy Spirit, Rom. 8:26-27. Same is true in all specific cases.
d. He will save all for whom we can pray in faith.
2. Is it not a duty to pray in faith for all? Ans. :a. No. 'Tis contrary to the revealed will, Jn. 17:9.
b. 'Tis our duty to be filled with and led by the Spirit
c. To live in full consecration and pray as we are led.
XXXV. PROPER SUBJECTS OF PRAYER.A. As broad as our wants--physical, spiritual, temporal, eternal.
B. Also those of others.
C. All objects of legitimate desire, for ourselves and all others, i. e. , whatever is consistent with universal benevolence.
D. We should thank and praise God for all favors.1. Providence, as universal, perfectly wise and good--therefore, for all things
2. Especially for afflictive dispensations--for all discipline, of selves and others; for hell (some ? in writing), for pardons and punishments.
XXXVI. EFFECTUAL PRAYER.A. *What is it?1. That which secures its object.
2. That which is answered according to its spirit, II Cor. 12:9.
B. *Conditions of.1. The inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Rom. 8:26-27.
2. Unselfishness, James 4:3.
3. The spirit of obedience, Prov. 38:9.
4. A clear conscience, I Jn 3:20-22
5. Purity of heart, Ps. 66:18.
6. Clean hands, Ps. 26:6; I Tim. 2:8.
7. Wrongs righted, Mt. 5:23.
8. According to God's revealed will, I Jn. 5:14.
9. Just confession and restitution, Prov. 28:13.
10. Stumbling blocks taken up, Ezek. 14:3.
11. Humility, James 4:6; 1 Pet. 5:5.
12. Forgiving from the heart, Mt. 6:12-15; Lk. 11:4.
13. In the name of Jesus, i. e. :a. For the sake of Jesus.
b. In the Spirit and person of Jesus.
14. Faith, expecting to receive, James 1:5-7; Heb. 11:6.
15. Promise, expressed or implied, Rom. 8:26-27, general or specific.
16. Fervency, James 5:16.
17. Perseverance, Lk. 18:1 and on.
18. Often, travail of soul, Gal, 4:19; Is. 66:7-8; Lk. 11:6-8.
19. Intense waiting on the Lord: Ps. 40:1-3; 25:3,5,21; 27:14; 37:7,9,34; Is. 8:17; 39:18; 40:31
20. Daily bearing the cross.
21. A bridled tongue.
22. Diligent use of appropriate means, not quackery.
23. Irrepressible urgency--Jacob, Moses, Elijah, Syr. woman, Daniel, Importunate widow, parable of asking loaves.
24. Consecration in prayer.
25. Accepting the whole will of God.
26. Entire sincerity. (DeKalb, Burnett. )
27. Praying with the whole heart.
28. Watchfulness, watching thereunto.
29. A walking softly before God.
30. Sympathy with God. (Beldon. )
31. Thorough renunciation of our own will--thy will. (Wisner)
32. Willingness to have what we ask.
33. Also to abide by the consequences.
34. Abiding in Christ, and his word is us
C. *Remarks.1. Why so much called prayer not answered.
2. Strange that any should continue to ask and neglect the revealed conditions, tempting God.
3. The unconsecrated have no right to expect an answer, or to escape the rebuke of Ezek. 14:4.
4. Some seem to pray as an offset to their sin.
5. Even sinners think it safer to pray, mocking,a. Confession without repentance.
b. Praying for pardon without repentance.
d. Repeating the Lord's prayer.
e. Many neglect the conditions and lose confidence.
XXXVII. PRAYER AS A DUTY OR AS A PRIVILEGE.A. *As a duty.1. This kind not duty.
2. An absurd idea of prayer.
3. It is self-righteous.
4. Cannot truly pray from sense of duty, can only say or read a prayer--mockery.
5. Such prayer is a delusion.
6. confirms it.
7. Often profane.
8. Often an abomination.
9. It is the sinner's idea of prayer, hence he prays as an offset and goes on in sin.
10. So with many professors, tempting God.
B. *Prayer as a privilege.1. In Christ's name we are allowed to pray.
2. Also encouraged to pray.
3. Without ceasing.
4. We have "exceeding great" and precious promises.
5. For ourselves and others.
6. Praying as a privilege, with the heart, is the only real prayer.
7. It is also fulfilling all revealed conditions.
8. Answer promised to none other.
9. Real prayer is an inward state of humble filial depending
10. As an act, it is the asking for what we want in childlike simplicity and sincerity. What an amazing privilege is this.
11. This is the prayer of the truly converted.
C. *Secret prayer.1. The condition of spiritual life.
2. The closet is the secret of power.
3. Unction reveals the praying soul.
4. Lack of unction, lack of secret prayer.
5. The closet the mount of communion
6. Here we unburden.
7. Also confess all.
8. Confide all.
9. Go into detail.
10. Closet prayer the most momentous work of life.
11. The most refreshing of all exercises.
12. The more we pray in secret the greater our faith and strength.
13. Also enjoyment, liberty in service, light in the Lord.
14. Power with men.
15. Pray aloud.
16. Cases of conviction from providential over-hearing.
XXXVIII. SPIRIT OF PRAYER.A. *Nature of.1. An inspiration.
2. An intercession of Christ in the heart, Rom. 8:26-27.
3. This a gift to be much coveted.
4. Obtained only by the consecrated.
5. Retained only by the watchful and softly-walking.
6. It imposes many heart burdens.
7. It often imposes much silence.
8. Is often mysterious to the uninitiated,
9. Is often hard on the body.
10. Is the greatest earthly power.
11. It often has a boldness that shocks the uninitiated.
12. It often Is a stumbling-block to those who have it not.
13. The answers will, sooner or later, justify it.
B. *Manifestations of the Spirit of prayer.1. A state of prayerfulness.
2. A state of grief for the lost.
3. Frequent travail for backsliders.
4. Often fastens upon individual cases.
5. A state of importunate waiting upon God.
6. It often cannot be denied, examples: Jacob, Elijah, Syro-phoenician, importunate widow, John Knox, Nash, Clary, and many others.
7. Expresses itself in much sobriety, anxious looks, sighs, groans, tears.
8. In much watchfulness.
9. Prays without ceasing.
10. Avoids light company.
11. Also light conversation.
12. Worldly amusements.
13. Seeks retirement to be alone with God.
14. When first experienced, the subject may not understand it.
15. Often an agony that finds vent in groans and struggles that cannot be expressed in words.
16. It will often persevere for days and nights, and oftentimes for weeks.
17. The Bible expresses it by the term "travail. "
18. Those who know, justify the figure.
19. It appears in all great revivals.
20. Revivals are superficial in proportion as this form of prayer is wanting.
21. Often it cannot rest short of assurance.
22. Often causes bodily prostration.
23. Often made a stumbling-block, by unbelief. Consequently, many thus exercised, confine their prayers as much as possible to the closet.
24. They dare not attempt to pray in public.
25. Many have wounded themselves and stumbled others, by open resistance, others by secret resistance. (Dexter, Clay. )
26. This form of prayer a special gift, and not the experience of all spiritual minds.
27. To lack it is not sin, if you walk in and are led by the Spirit.
28. Let those who lack it avoid censoriousness.
29. Also, those who possess it.
30. A censorious spirit will quench it.
XXXIX. PRAYER OF FAITH.A. *What it is not.1. It is not that which we commonly offer and hear.
2. Not offering our desires without expectation.
B. *What it is.1. Believing that we receive what we ask, Mk. 11:23-24; Mt. 17:19; 21:19,20,21.
2. It is an inspired prayer.
3. Peculiar, as attested by consciousness.
4. Believe that you receive, and you shall have.
5. Not that you have already.
6. The petition is granted, and we shall possess the gift in due time.
7. We may without authority infer that the answer will reach us immediately.
8. We may fail to rightly understand the Spirit's intercession within us, and receive something other and vastly more than we thought of at the time.
9. It is really the faith of assurance, applied to prayer.
10. It is a kind of faith, of when many Christians know nothing, others possess the gift in a large measure.
11. This assurance relieves the travail of the soul.
12. The assurance is given by direct revelation.
C. *Question -- May the blessing be forfeited, and the promise fail?1. I think it may, Num. 14:34.
2. By failing to fulfill the conditions of the answer.
3. By tempting God.
D. *Objections.1. The conditions of promise impossible. Ans.: No, the prayer is inspired, Rom. 8:26-27.
2. Not always answered, II Cor. 12:7-9; Jn. 12:23-33. Answered according to the mind of the Spirit.
XL. SOCIAL PRAYER.A. This is of prime importance -- special promises. Mt. 18:19,20.
B. Its efficacy abundantly tested in revivals of religion.
C. It greatly strengthens the young converts.
D. Greatly conducive to fraternal confidence.
E. A privilege greatly neglected.
F. Conductive to watchfulness, when Christians meet.
G. Also to Christian sobriety.
H. To power with God.
I. Very helpful to each other.
J. Should be accompanied with confession of faults to one another, James 5:16.
K. Difficulties:1. Embarrassment because of the presence of others.
2. Temptation to pray for their ears, instead of God's.
3. A true devotional spirit will soon overcome these difficulties.
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[EDITOR'S NOTE: The Roman numerals have been supplied to most of the lectures with some attempt to group them. The capital letters with an "*" are added, in some cases the heading supplied. Some changes made in the sub-outlines. Outlines were written longhand in a notebook, most of the writing being about 1/2" high. Finney died August 16, 1875, so he was about 81 years of age when these were delivered. He perhaps wrote the outlines one by one when they were delivered. Copied Aug. 1952 . . . probably not Finney's writing.]