||delphia > Grieving the Holy Spirit- No.1 by Charles G. Finney from "The Oberlin Evangelist"
Grieving the Holy Spirit- No. 1
Charles G. Finney
A Voice from the Philadelphian Church Age
by Charles Grandison Finney
Public Domain Text
Reformatted by Katie Stewart
from "The Oberlin Evangelist"
December 4, 1839
GRIEVING THE HOLY SPIRIT--No. 1
by the Rev. C. G. Finney
Text.--Eph. 4:30."Grieve not the Holy
Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption."
In this discussion, I shall pursue the following order.
I. Show that the Holy Spirit can be, and often is grieved by men.
II. How and when He is grieved.
III. The consequences of grieving the Holy Spirit.
I. The Holy Spirit can be, and often is grieved.
- 1. The Bible, in this text and in various other texts, represents him as being
- 2. God is a moral being, and consequently he has the susceptibilities and feelings
of a moral being, and must therefore be grieved with whatever is naturally grievous
to a moral being.
- 3. His entire character is love or benevolence, and therefore he cannot but be
grieved with whatever is wrong. But as I have recently published a sermon on the
emotions of God, showing that God necessarily exercises the feelings ascribed to
him in the Bible, I need not enlarge upon the subject at this time.
II. How and when the Holy Spirit is grieved.
Before I enter upon this head of my discourse, I wish to make several remarks.
- 1. The great object of the Holy Spirit, as revealed in the Bible, is to sanctify
the souls of men. Men are to be saved by "the sanctification of the Spirit through
the belief of the truth."
- 2. He can sanctify men only with the truth. Sanctification is holiness. Holiness
is voluntary obedience to God. Voluntary obedience certainly cannot be produced but
by the influence of the truth. Hence Christ prays, "Sanctify them through thy
truth." The Holy Spirit himself has no other means of sanctifying the soul but
- 3. A moral agent can resist any and every truth. Moral agency implies power to
resist any degree of motive that may be brought to bear upon the mind. Wherever force
begins, moral agency ends. Were it possible for motive to force the mind, the forced
action would have no moral character any more than the operations of the physical
universe. Action must be free to be moral action. Necessary action is therefore neither
virtuous nor vicious. I repeat it then, that moral agency implies the power to resist
any and every truth. Whether any man ever did or ever will as a matter of fact, resist
all truth, is entirely another question. But certain it is, that men are able to
resist the utmost influence that the truth can exert upon them; and therefore have
ability to defeat the wisest, most benevolent, and most powerful exertions which
the Holy Spirit can make to effect their sanctification.
- 4. Every moral evil must be counteracted by truth, and can be counteracted in
no other way.
- 5. Whatever, therefore, hinders the truth from producing its sanctifying effect,
grieves the Holy Spirit just in proportion to his desire to have it produce that
- 6. In preaching this sermon, and in all my sermons, I design to be personal in
what I say, so far as this is consistent with addressing so many persons at once.
I am not one of those who feel as if I should be convicted of wrong, of course, if
found to have adapted my discourse to the state of the audience before and around
me. I never feel called upon to make an apology for being as personal as I can in
"giving to each one a portion in due season." I wish, therefore, my hearers
and my readers, to consider me as speaking to them individually. And as I cannot
call you by name I beseech you by all that you hold dear, to pause at every step
of this part of my discourse and solemnly ask yourselves, "Is it I?" Have
I thus grieved the Holy Spirit?
With these remarks, I am prepared to notice some of the many ways in which the
Holy Spirit is grieved.
- 1. By neglecting the truth. Men have the command of their attention and can take
up any subject for contemplation they please. If they will not attend to truth they
cannot be sanctified nor saved. Now how many of you are employing your thoughts about
any thing and every thing else than that truth, which is infinitely important to
you and wholly indispensable to your salvation? O, if your neglected Bible were allowed
now to speak to you, what an overwhelming testimony would it bear! And when it shall
rise up in the judgment against you, of what gross and ruinous neglect will it convict
you! Methinks I can almost hear it crying out to you as you go about in the neglect
of it--at one time wooing and beseeching you in the melting accents of eternal love
to search it, to be instructed by it, and be saved--at another time it mutters, as
you pass through [the] room where it is, its curses against you for neglecting it,
or perhaps it cries out to you from some corner of the house, in the language of
warning, and expostulation; and yet you heed it not! Of what are you thinking? Would
you not be grieved and afflicted, if you should write letters of great importance
to some beloved friend of yours, and he should neglect to read and understand them?
And do you think that the Holy Spirit has less susceptibility upon this subject than
- 2. Levity of mind, and conduct, and conversation grieves the Holy Spirit. Levity
of conduct would certainly be very unbecoming in the presence of an earthly judge
or sovereign. And how much less tolerable is it in the presence of the infinitely
holy God? Are you a trifler? And about what are you trifling--and in whose presence--and
under what circumstances? Few things in the universe can appear more shocking to
one who has any faith in God, than to see a human being whose eternal destiny hangs
as upon a moment's point, filled with levity right under the searching gaze of his
omniscient judge. Especially does this appear horrible and abominable when we consider
the Holy Spirit as wooing, and beseeching, and following you towards the depths of
hell, and pleading with constant and earnest importunity that you will turn and live!
How can you--how dare you trifle? You would be shocked to see an individual, on trial
for his life, trifle just as the judge was about to pronounce sentence upon him.
But such conduct, and under such circumstances, would be decency and propriety, when
compared with the unutterable abomination of trifling in the presence of the great
Jehovah who stands, and commands, and exhorts, and urges, and threatens, and expostulates,
and pleads, and, in every way, endeavors to get your solemn attention to the subject
of your soul's salvation.
- 3. The reading of light and trifling publications grieves the Holy Spirit. Woman,
Man, dare you spend an hour in defiling your mind with some vain novel or foolish
story, when so much truth of infinite weight and importance urges your investigation
and instant attention? Can Jesus Christ--can eternal life and death--can the glory
of God and the salvation of the souls of men--can the commandments of God be solemnly
weighed--can the blood, and groans, and mercy of Calvary be duly considered, when
novels and plays and frivolous reading have gotten possession of your mind? O! you
poor, wicked, helpless, loathsome, miserable sinner, what do you mean? No matter
whether you are a professor of religion or not. You are a miserable sinner before
God, and the law of your own conscience, if you spend your time in such reading.
What is your name? Let me visit your chamber, your parlor, or wherever you keep your
books. What is here? Byron, Scott and Shakespeare, and a host of triflers and blasphemers
of God, and despisers of the Holy Ghost. Are these your companions--these the spirits
with whom you commune--this the way in which you spend your time? And you a professor
of religion? Do you not know that you are a great hypocrite to neglect your Bible
and communion with the Holy Spirit, and give your mind up to communion with such
earthly, sensual and devilish works as these?
But do you say I do not profess to be a Christian? Then I reply, you are never
likely to be a Christian in such company. You might as well expect to be weaned from
habits of intoxication by sitting in the barroom with drunkards or while holding
communion with a pipe of brandy, as to expect to become religious surrounded with
such companions as these.
- 4. Vain conversation grieves the Holy Spirit. Christ says, "Let your yea
be yea, and your nay, nay, for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil."
"And, for every idle word that men shall speak they shall give an account thereof
in the judgment." In the chapter of which the text is a part, the Apostle warns
Christians not to be guilty of "vain conversation and foolish jesting."
Would you spend your time in vain and idle conversation, if you knew you had but
one hour to live? And perhaps you have not. But suppose you have, are your circumstances
those in which it becomes an immortal being to spend his time in vain conversation?
Do you not know that God is listening to every word you say? He is pouring the blaze
of his eye through your inmost soul, as if he would speak out and rebuke you. Why
are you not using your conversational powers in instructing those around you in the
way of life? Perhaps those of your own household, and your nearest friends need to
be reproved and warned, exhorted and instructed in regard to their salvation. Professor
of religion, how do you spend your time, when in the midst of your impenitent friends,
and what is your conversation when in the midst of professing Christians? I beg of
you to answer to your own heart and to God. And if you doubt just how you appear
to them, will you show them this sermon, and ask them to read this paragraph and
then give their candid opinion of what you ought to think of yourself and of your
conversation? Now if your conversation has hitherto been vain and trifling or useless,
and in any way unbecoming in a Christian, will you immediately repent and confess
to those before whom you have laid a stumbling block--confess to the Holy Ghost whom
you have grieved, and beseech him to forgive you, and return and take up his dwelling
in your heart?
But perhaps you are not a professor of religion. Then I ask, Why are you not?
And I add that you probably never will be, unless you make a false profession, if
you are in the habit of indulging in vain conversation. Do you expect the Holy Spirit
to strive with you, and wait upon you day after day, month after month, and year
after year, while you keep up your incessant and senseless babble, regardless of
his solemn presence, his awful holiness, and of his great and infinite love and desire
to get your serious attention that he may save you?
- 5. Too much study, I mean too much mental application to those arts and sciences
that have no direct reference to the sanctification of your souls, grieves the Holy
Spirit. This is particularly a sin of students, into which they are sometimes betrayed
by ambition, and into which, at other times, they are almost crowded by their teachers.
Their whole mind is swallowed up from day to day in literary and scientific pursuits
to the neglect of the solemn calls, and warnings, and strivings of the Holy Spirit.
So did not James B. Taylor. With him it was the first and principal thing to obey
the calls of the Holy Spirit. This was his determination, and a practical adherence
to this rule was the secret of all his piety.
- 6. Neglect of study grieves the Holy Spirit. Where study is your employment,
and you are negligent and attend to less than is consistent with all your other duties,
you err quite as much as if you studied too much.
- 7. Too much business grieves the Holy Spirit. In my last lecture, I spoke of
the necessity of diligence in business and the sin of idleness; and also of the danger
of engaging in too much business. Suppose your father should visit you on some most
important business, and that you should suffer yourself to be so much employed as
to be unable to give him any part of your time. This certainly would be entirely
inexcusable. But what is this when compared with the wickedness of being too busy
to converse with God?
- 8. Not business enough grieves the Holy Spirit. Idleness is one of the greatest
of sins, and wholly inconsistent, as I showed in my last, with either the spirit
or duties of religion.
- 9. Intemperance of every kind grieves the Holy Spirit. In its largest sense,
intemperance is any violation of the laws of life and health, in eating, and drinking,
or dress, or exercise, in any thing and every thing that is injurious to the body.
Every man is bound to understand, so far as he is able, the structure and laws of
his whole being, body and mind, and to conform most rigidly and conscientiously to
those laws upon which his health and highest usefulness depend. And yet how many
of you are neglecting, and perhaps refusing to give your attention to the examination
of the structure and laws of your own being; and in the indulgence of your filthy
lusts are injuring your health and beclouding and stupefying your minds, and are
following in the footsteps of those "whose god is their belly, whose end is
destruction, and who glory in" that which ought to be "their shame."
- 10. Self-justification grieves the Holy Spirit. Many persons seem to be as anxious
to justify their conduct, as if they expected to be saved by their own works, and
knew that to be found guilty in any thing were to insure their damnation. They are
therefore continually resorting to apologies, and shifts, and self-justifying pleas,
either in the way of entirely exculpating themselves from blame in any thing, or
at least to bring their blame-worthiness into doubt; so as to be able to say, "if
they have done wrong they are sorry." Now it should always be understood, that
a spirit of self-justification is but adding insult to injury, first abusing God,
and then justifying yourself in it. Such a course as this renders sanctification
impossible. Why do you not, at once, break down, confess and forsake your sin? Why
do you go about to fritter away your guilt? It is unspeakably great. No human language
can sufficiently describe it. No one ever has or can accuse you of half as much as
you are guilty of before God. Probably you never were accused of any form of sin,
of which in heart and in the sight of God you are not fully guilty. But however this
may be, it is certain, and you ought deeply to consider it, that the thousandth part
of your real guilt, as it appears in the sight of God has never been named nor told
nor conceived of by mortal man. Your iniquities are infinite. They are broader than
the earth, they are high as heaven, they are deep as hell, and black as the midnight
of the second death. And why do you justify yourself, or spend your time or breath
in making apologies for your sins?
- 11. Condemning others grieves the Holy Spirit. Perhaps some of you are judging
and condemning those around you instead of judging and condemning yourselves. "Judge
not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged:
and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest
thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is
in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out
of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast
out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the
mote out of thy brother's eye."
- 12. Speaking evil of your brethren or of any human being, or even of the devil
himself, grieves the Holy Spirit. By evil speaking I do not mean speaking the truth
when manifestly called to speak it. But speaking falsehood is always evil speaking,
or telling truth in regard to the faults of others, when uncalled for, is also evil
speaking. God is love. He exercises infinite benevolence toward all his creatures
whether holy or unholy. He is infinitely far from consenting to injustice in any
case. And he is infinitely opposed to all injurious treatment of his friends or his
foes. He would as fully resent, as sternly rebuke, and as promptly punish injustice
done to the devil as to any soul on earth or in heaven. He will not, cannot, connive
nor consent to any abusive treatment of the vilest sinners in the universe. You,
therefore, as greatly grieve him, when you trifle with the name, the reputation,
or the feelings of the wickedest sinner on earth or even the devil in hell, as if
you were guilty of the same conduct toward any of his friends. He is infinitely unlike
sinful man in this respect. Wicked men will connive at the abuse of their enemies,
and even secretly acquiesce in it. But it is infinitely otherwise with God. There
is a great and universal mistake upon this subject. There are few if any who do not
consider it wicked to speak evil of a brother. But how many there are who throw up
the rein when speaking of others than their brethren, and are guilty of absolute
railing at and shocking abuse of the enemies of God; and perhaps also of the professed
friends of God. Now let me ask, what are your habits in this respect? Woman, when
you have company, do you sit down and serve up a dish of slander? Do you dissect
and mangle the character of your neighbor? Man, are you a railer? Have you forgotten
that God has said, "Speak evil of no man,"--"be no brawler, but be
gentle showing all meekness unto all men"? Ah, but perhaps you are speaking
of a political opponent, or of a competitor in business, or some opponent of religious
views and practices. You think him very wicked--an enemy of God, of truth, and righteousness,
and perhaps think yourself "doing God service" in giving him over to all
the curses of reprobation. Now stop! O stop! Pause as upon the brink of eternity!
What are you saying? Of whom are you speaking? Of a man "made in the image of
God." Suppose he is as bad or even immeasurably worse than you think he is;
can the Holy Spirit be otherwise than grieved to hear such language as this? Remember
that there is a sense in which all mankind are the children of God. Suppose they
do sin and rebel; will this afford an apology think you, in his view, for your abuse
of them? I tell you nay. Infinitely far from it! And every time you do it, you grieve
and provoke the Holy Spirit. And it is wonderful, that he does not turn away his
face from you forever.
- 13. Evil thinking, as well as evil speaking, grieves the Holy Spirit. God looks
at the heart. Your thoughts and the secret movements of your mind, lie open before
him. And your words and actions are no otherwise pleasing or offensive in his sight,
than as they are the expression of what passes within. You may, therefore, as effectually,
and no doubt do more frequently, grieve the Holy Spirit by your thoughts than by
your words. All your silent and most secret musings, are distinctly observed, and
marked, and pondered by the Holy Spirit. He weighs every thought of your heart in
his balance. If you indulge evil, and unkind and unchristian thoughts of any being
in the universe, he knows it and is as truly grieved and offended with them, although
you may never have given utterance to them, as if they were penciled in sunbeams
in every part of the universe. Are you in the habit of taking up a strict scrutiny
and searching into the secret thoughts, and purposes, and workings of your mind?
O how much you may have grieved the Holy Spirit without scarcely being aware of it.
You can see, that if all the thoughts you have entertained, had been spoken out,
both God and man might have been grieved and had a just cause of offense. Now remember
that to God's ear these thoughts have been as audibly expressed as if spoken in thunder-tones.
To God's eye they have been as open, and as black, and as grievous as if written
in letters of darkness upon the very skies. Now do commune with your own heart, and
be still, and take up the solemn question: what have I thought as well as what have
- 14. A disposition to retaliate grieves the Holy Spirit. This temper of mind is
as far as possible from the temper of Christ, and is the direct opposite of a state
of sanctification. The spirit of Christ would be, to forgive enemies, and those who
have injured you, and to labor, and suffer great self-denial for their good. But
the spirit of retaliation is earthly, sensual, devilish.
- 15. Prejudice grieves the Holy Spirit. There are few things more astonishing
than that prejudice should be regarded and spoken of as it often is by professors
of religion. Prejudice, as the term imports, is to prejudge a case, to make up your
mind without hearing both sides of a question. Now, as shameful as the truth is,
few things are more disgustingly common than prejudice among professors of religion.
Making up their minds that this or that thing is right or wrong, and setting their
faces, and using their influence accordingly, deaf and blind to every thing on the
other side. Scarcely any thing is more common than to find professors of religion
of all denominations, on all the most solemn subjects in regard to men, and measures,
and doctrines, in such a state of committal on one side or the other through prejudice
as to render it useless to try to approach their mind and possess them of the real
truth. And thus they go blindly and often madly forward in fighting against God,
and the dearest interests of his kingdom. There is scarcely any thing I have witnessed
since I became a professor of religion, at which I have been more frequently shocked,
and made to groan in my inmost soul than the exhibition of this wicked spirit. And
what is worse than all the rest, this spirit is spoken of by almost all as a calamity
rather than a crime. The most unreasonable conduct and the most wicked and persecuting
temper seems to be sufficiently excused by saying, "O the individual is under
the influence of prejudice." And if peradventure a man gets his eyes open upon
any question where he has been in the wrong, he speaks of his former vices and conduct
as, in a great measure, excusable on the ground of his having been prejudiced. The
truth is that prejudice is one of the most detestable sins that disgraces the Church
and grieves the Holy Spirit of God. And now are any of you under its influence? Of
course you will say, no, for the very fact that you are implies that you are ignorant
of it. But let me ask you, if you are sure that upon every subject, that at present
agitates the Church and the world especially upon those great and leading topics
upon which the nation and the world are so much divided: Abolition, Moral Reform,
Temperance, Holiness, Revivals of Religion, Measures, Doctrines, &c.--are you
sure that you have attended to both sides of the question before you judge? Have
you taken sufficient pains to inform yourself in regard to men and measures, and
the actual or probable results, to have made up an enlightened and unbiassed judgment
in the case? And if not, what do you mean? Why are your feelings enlisted on one
side? Why do you use your influence in the manner you do? How do you know but a view
of the whole subject would entirely change your views and practice, and cause you
to go sorrowing down to your grave because you had been found to fight against God?
O! how is the Holy Spirit grieved at the vast amount of prejudice which causes the
jangling and misunderstanding and misrule of both the Church and the world.
- 16. Pride grieves the Holy Spirit. Pride is undue self-esteem, and vanity is
the exhibition of it. Nothing is more preposterous and marvelous than human pride;
and very few things are at a greater remove from the spirit of Christ. It manifests
itself in ten thousand ways; but wherever it exists, it is an effectual barrier against
the exhibition or existence even of the spirit of Christ.
- 17. Ill will grieves the Holy Spirit. This is the direct opposite of benevolence
or the spirit and temper required by both the law and the Gospel. Benevolence is
good-willing. Malevolence is ill-willing. To will evil to any being under the sun
is the opposite of all that is lovely. And how can it be otherwise, than that a God
of infinite benevolence, should be grieved with the malevolence of any of his great
family? How would a parent feel to see one of his children manifest ill will to others
of his offspring? How this would enkindle his grief and indignation! And how must
the infinite heart of God glow with grief and indignation when you are found with
a spirit of retaliation or revenge rankling in your heart.
- 18. Every neglect of duty grieves the Holy Spirit. In reading President Edwards'
account of his wife's experience, I was struck with a remark to this effect, that
when she was in the highest exercise of grace, she was deeply impressed with the
fact, that so much of religion consisted in the discharge of relative and social
duties. Many people seem to overlook this part of religion and content themselves
with what they call devotion to God. What they mean by devotion is praying, reading
the Bible, attending on the exercises of the Sabbath, giving their money to benevolent
objects, and such like things, while in their temper they exhibit any thing but the
spirit of Christ. Now Christianity wherever it truly exists, will, from its very
nature, develop itself to the view of men mainly in its influence in making them
discharge all their social and relative duties; and if it be not apparent here it
is certain that it does not really exist. There is such a vast amount of negligence
among professors of religion as to render it almost certain were there nothing else
forbidding in their history that multitudes of them have no religion at all. Some
neglect to pay their debts. Not long since I published a sermon on "being in
debt," since which I have seen several efforts in some of the religious periodicals
to put down or set aside the principles of that sermon, and to remove the pressure
from the conscience of the Church and the world in regard to their negligence in
this respect. Some have misconceived and of course misrepresented the doctrines of
the sermon. Others, by criticisms upon the text, have endeavored to show that it
was not a command to abstain from being in debt. It is not now the time or place
to reply to those remarks. But I would here simply say that the doctrine of that
sermon, that it is a sin to be in debt, is eternal and unalterable truth, whether
that particular text prohibits it or not. To deny this is the same absurdity as to
say that you may owe a man and be under no obligation to pay him, and the same contradiction
as to say that you may neglect or refuse to discharge your obligation without sin.
Now what is sin but the violation of an obligation, and what is an obligation but
to owe a man? To what then do all such criticisms amount as these to which I have
alluded? Do such editors and newspaper-writers expect to set aside the principles
of eternal justice, and to persuade mankind that it is not sinful to be in debt or
to suffer their obligations to go uncanceled by mere criticisms upon a text? The
doctrine of that sermon is true, and self-evident truth, entirely irrespective of
its being taught in that or any other text in the Bible. If there were no Bible,
that is a truth which must stand forever; and to deny it is a palpable absurdity.
But again let me say that many neglect to do things when and as they ought to
be done. Now it is certainly a part of religion to do everything incumbent upon us
at the right time and in the right manner, and any and every negligence in this respect
is sin. Have you an appointment to meet a neighbor at a particular hour for the transaction
of business; be there at the moment, lest you hinder him and all others associated
with you in the affair. Is there an appointment for a Church or any other religious
meeting, for worship or the transaction of business; be there at the moment, lest
you interrupt or hinder the business or devotion of others. Have you engaged to do
any thing for your neighbor or for any man or woman on earth, see that you do it
just when and as it ought to be done. And in short, no man can keep a conscience
void of offense--no man can fulfill the law of love--no man can abstain from grieving
the Holy Spirit but by a most faithful and constant discharge of every duty to God
- 19. Every form of selfishness grieves the Holy Spirit. I have often taught in
my sermons that selfishness and sin are synonymous terms. By selfishness, I have
often said that I do not mean the mere desire of your own happiness, for this is
natural. It is self love, and not selfishness. But when even this desire becomes
supreme, and leads you to sacrifice greater interests, for the sake of promoting
your own, this is selfishness; and in whatsoever form it is cherished or exhibited,
it is an utter abomination to God. How odious and detestable does selfishness appear
to God, when he sees it exercised among his children in their intercourse with each
other. If you are a parent, you know how you are grieved and offended, if you see
one of your little ones bent upon gratifying himself at the expense of the good or
happiness of the rest of your children. Now "if you being evil" are so
stung and grieved with such a spirit as this, how much more shall your Heavenly Father
be grieved at such an exhibition of selfishness among his children?
But there are so many ways in which the Holy Spirit may be grieved, that I must
resume the subject, and also show the consequences of grieving the Holy Spirit in
of easily misunderstood terms as defined by Mr. Finney himself.
Compiled by Katie Stewart
- Complacency, or Esteem: "Complacency, as a state of will or heart,
is only benevolence modified by the consideration or relation of right character
in the object of it. God, prophets, apostles, martyrs, and saints, in all ages, are
as virtuous in their self-denying and untiring labours to save the wicked, as they
are in their complacent love to the saints." Systematic Theology (LECTURE
VII). Also, "approbation of the character of its object. Complacency is
due only to the good and holy." Lectures to Professing Christians (LECTURE
- Disinterested Benevolence: "By disinterested benevolence I do not
mean, that a person who is disinterested feels no interest in his object of pursuit,
but that he seeks the happiness of others for its own sake, and not for the sake
of its reaction on himself, in promoting his own happiness. He chooses to do good
because he rejoices in the happiness of others, and desires their happiness for its
own sake. God is purely and disinterestedly benevolent. He does not make His creatures
happy for the sake of thereby promoting His own happiness, but because He loves their
happiness and chooses it for its own sake. Not that He does not feel happy in promoting
the happiness of His creatures, but that He does not do it for the sake of His own
gratification." Lectures to Professing Christians (LECTURE I).
- Divine Sovereignty: "The sovereignty of God consists in the independence
of his will, in consulting his own intelligence and discretion, in the selection
of his end, and the means of accomplishing it. In other words, the sovereignty of
God is nothing else than infinite benevolence directed by infinite knowledge."
Systematic Theology (LECTURE LXXVI).
- Election: "That all of Adam's race, who are or ever will be saved,
were from eternity chosen by God to eternal salvation, through the sanctification
of their hearts by faith in Christ. In other words, they are chosen to salvation
by means of sanctification. Their salvation is the end- their sanctification is a
means. Both the end and the means are elected, appointed, chosen; the means as really
as the end, and for the sake of the end." Systematic Theology (LECTURE LXXIV).
- Entire Sanctification: "Sanctification may be entire in two senses:
(1.) In the sense of present, full obedience, or entire consecration to God; and,
(2.) In the sense of continued, abiding consecration or obedience to God. Entire
sanctification, when the terms are used in this sense, consists in being established,
confirmed, preserved, continued in a state of sanctification or of entire consecration
to God." Systematic Theology (LECTURE LVIII).
- Moral Agency: "Moral agency is universally a condition of moral obligation.
The attributes of moral agency are intellect, sensibility, and free will." Systematic
Theology (LECTURE III).
- Moral Depravity: "Moral depravity is the depravity of free-will,
not of the faculty itself, but of its free action. It consists in a violation of
moral law. Depravity of the will, as a faculty, is, or would be, physical, and not
moral depravity. It would be depravity of substance, and not of free, responsible
choice. Moral depravity is depravity of choice. It is a choice at variance with moral
law, moral right. It is synonymous with sin or sinfulness. It is moral depravity,
because it consists in a violation of moral law, and because it has moral character."
Systematic Theology (LECTURE XXXVIII).
- Human Reason: "the intuitive faculty or function of the intellect...
it is the faculty that intuits moral relations and affirms moral obligation to act
in conformity with perceived moral relations." Systematic Theology (LECTURE
- Retributive Justice: "Retributive justice consists in treating every
subject of government according to his character. It respects the intrinsic merit
or demerit of each individual, and deals with him accordingly." Systematic
Theology (LECTURE XXXIV).
- Total Depravity: "Moral depravity of the unregenerate is without
any mixture of moral goodness or virtue, that while they remain unregenerate, they
never in any instance, nor in any degree, exercise true love to God and to man."
Systematic Theology (LECTURE XXXVIII).
- Unbelief: "the soul's withholding confidence from truth and the God
of truth. The heart's rejection of evidence, and refusal to be influenced by it.
The will in the attitude of opposition to truth perceived, or evidence presented."
Systematic Theology (LECTURE LV).
RELATED STUDY AID:
Index for "The
Oberlin Evangelist": Finney:
Voices of Philadelphia