||delphia > Wisdom Justified of Her Children by Charles G. Finney from "The Oberlin Evangelist"
Wisdom Justified of Her Children
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"
October 12, 1842
WISDOM JUSTIFIED OF HER CHILDREN
by the Rev. C. G. Finney
"But wisdom is justified of all her children."
Before I enter directly upon the discussion of the text, I will remark,
1. That the dress, and manner of life of John the Baptist were manifestly typical
of the state of repentance and humiliation to which he called the Jews at that particular
time, and to which every soul is called before he received Christ, gospel liberty,
and joy in the Holy Ghost. It had been common for the prophets of Israel, to adopt
modes of life that were typical of the particular truths they were commissioned to
2. Christ does not appear to have differed in his dress and dietetic habits from
the mass of the people. It should be remembered, however, that among the eastern
nations, modes of dress were not perpetually fluctuating as they are in the west.
It is manifest that Christ was observant of the innocent civilities of life, attended
marriages, and politely accepted the hospitality of all classes for the purpose of
doing them good. He observed the rites of the ceremonial law, as they were typical,
and that dispensation was not ended, but he paid no other regard to the superstitious
traditions of the elders, than to rebuke them, and to reject their authority.
3. John's austere habits and manner of life--his severe rebukes and denunciations,
were a stumbling-block to the self-righteous Jews. Being righteous in their own eyes,
and not, in their own estimation, needing repentance and humiliation, they neither
understood his preaching, nor the typical design of his dress, diet, and manner of
living. From all these, they concluded that he was a railer and possessed an evil
4. Christ's preaching and manner of life were no less a stumbling block. Knowing
nothing of gospel liberty, and not understanding that all things belong to God's
children, and were to be wisely and temperately used by them with thanksgiving, they
accused Christ of being a glutton and a wine-bibber. John's preaching and manner
of life were designedly legal, in the sense that they were designed to make the Jews
feel that they were in a state of condemnation, instead of being in a state of justification
by faith in Jesus Christ. Christ's manner of life was a perfect specimen of gospel
liberty, in opposition to the legal and conscience bound state in which the Scribes
and Pharisees were, which was typified by John's habits and manner of life.
5. In the context Christ illustrates the manner in which the Jews had first treated
John and afterwards Himself. "And the Lord said, whereunto shall I liken the
men of this generation, and to what are they like? They are like unto children sitting
in the market-place, and calling one to another, and saying, we have piped unto you,
and ye have not danced; we have mourned to you, and ye have not wept. For John the
Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine; and ye say, he hath a devil.
The Son of man is come eating and drinking; and ye say, behold a gluttonous man,
and a wine bibber, a friend of publicans and sinners! But wisdom is justified of
all her children." By John, He says, you were called to mourning, but you would
not mourn. You resisted his rebukes and appeals, and said he had a devil. By me you
are called to liberty and rejoicing, and this you reject as antinomian, and latitidinarian--accusing
me of gluttony and intemperance. So that whatever is done for you, you are displeased
6. While the great mass of the Jews were stumbled, and would have been stumbled whatever
might have been done for them, it was, nevertheless, true that the truly wise were
edified, and saved.
In proceeding to the discussion of this subject, I will endeavor to show,
I. What wisdom is, and who are wise.
II. That that which is wise and true will be justified and approved by the wise.
III. That selfish souls will stumble at what is wise and true, and why they will
I. What wisdom is, and who are wise.
- 1. Wisdom consists in devoting ourselves to the promotion of the best ends, by
the best means.
- 2. This is exactly synonymous with true religion. Virtue, holiness, or true religion,
consists, as has often been shown in my lectures, in disinterested benevolence. Benevolence
consists in good willing, choosing, or intending, or, in other words, in devoting
ones self to the promotion of the highest good of being for its own sake. In other
words, true religion is the devotion of ones being to the glory of God and the highest
good of his kingdom. This is wisdom. Therefore all truly religious persons are wise.
All else are fools in the Bible sense of the term, devoting themselves to some unreasonable
end and course of life.
II. That which is wise and true will be justified and approved by the wise.
- 1. All the truly wise or truly pious have one and the same end in view. It is
this fact which distinguishes them as pious persons.
- 2. They will, therefore, substantially agree as to the means of promoting this
- (1.) Because they all have spiritual discernment. "But he that is spiritual
judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man."
- (2.) They are free from the bias of selfishness. They have no self righteous
and legal prejudices to blind them on the one hand, and no idols to consult or lusts
to gratify on the other. In just so far as their eye is single, they will naturally
and readily apprehend the truth as it is. From the very constitution of their mind,
they are the less likely to misunderstand the truth, by how much the less they are
influenced by any selfish consideration. And the more likely to understand it aright,
by how much the more single their eye is to the glory of God. Christ says, "My
sheep hear my voice, and I know them and they follow me, But a stranger will they
not follow, but will flee from him, for they know not the voice of stranger."
Here Christ plainly teaches that those who are truly his sheep, will not follow strangers;
that is, they will not be led away into a fundamental error. The Apostle, in one
of his letters, plainly teaches the impossibility of deceiving the elect.
- (3.) The fact is, to those who are truly wise, the works, and providence, and
word of God are one harmonious revelation of his natural and moral attributes. Having
the same end in view that God has, they naturally, and easily understand Him. Being
benevolent themselves, having their hearts set on doing the utmost good in their
power, the attention of their mind being, of course, directed to that end, they are
naturally struck at every turn, with the manifestation of benevolent design, that
every where appears in the works, and ways and word of God. Turn their eyes where
they will, their attention is immediately arrested with the fact, that God evidently
has the same end in view which they have--has gone before them in laying the trains
by which their benevolent plans may be carried out, and is, in innumerable ways co-operating
with them in the promotion of the great end they have in view. They therefore very
naturally come to an easy interpretation of the works and providence and word of
God. They all speak a language which is familiar to them. It is the language of benevolence.
And shall not the benevolent understand it? Does not love understand the language
of love? I tell you that wisdom is justified of all her children.
- (4.) To the truly wise, the law and gospel are one consistent scheme of revelation
and salvation, and not contradictory and conflicting schemes. A truly pious person
will behold at a glance the wisdom and benevolence of God, in the typical manner
of teaching the gospel under the old Testament dispensation. He sees at once, that
through those types and shadows, a future Christ, and justification by faith in Him,
were taught. Truly pious persons see no difference in the way of salvation under
the two dispensations--that they only differ in this, that in the old, Christ was
presented through types and prophecies as a future sacrifice, while in the new He
is presented in the simple form of history, as having lived and died, and thus set
aside the necessity of the typical manner of teaching the gospel. To them God is
the same in both dispensations and the spirit of all that He has ever done or said
is one and the same.
III. Selfish minds will stumble at what is wise and true; and why they will
- 1. Their state of mind, or the end for which they live, has a powerful tendency
to beget misunderstanding. Being selfish, they naturally overlook the benevolence
of God, as it is every where manifested in the works of creation. They have their
eye upon the promotion of their own private interests, and see no benevolence in
any thing that does not favor the particular end they have in view. They are often
fretted with the providence of God. Like the owl in the fable, that wondered why
the sun was created, with so much light that he could not see to catch a mouse, the
selfish sinner looks upon every thing as very untractable, and ill-natured, that
does not fall in with his peculiar ends and aims. In this state of mind, he naturally
misunderstands almost every thing that God does and says. If God commands him to
glorify Him, he is apt to understand God as being selfish and ambitious, just as
the sinner knows himself to be. He does not understand that God is purely and disinterestedly
benevolent in such a requirement. He naturally understands all God's commands, promises,
and threatenings, as founded in selfishness. He knows his own to be, and therefore
naturally thinks of God, as being altogether such an one as himself. Furthermore,
when God promises reward to virtue, and threatens evil to vice, he understands these
as appeals to his selfishness.
- 2. Just so with the providence of God. The sinner misunderstands it at every
step. If it should happen to fall in with his favorite pursuits and schemes, he looks
upon God as being very partial to him, and perhaps thanks God, as we often hear selfish
professing Christians do, for being so much better to him, than He is to others--for
being so very partial to him in a great many respect. But on the other hand, if God's
providence happen not to favor his particular pursuits and schemes, he is apt to
look upon God as prejudiced against them and as indulging some pique--as acting towards
them upon the principle of retaliation and revenge. Being conscious, to some extent,
of the principles by which they know themselves to be actuated, they very naturally
attribute the same motives to God--and thus they perpetually deceive themselves in
regard to the divine character. God's works, and providence, and word, are universally
good. They tend to one ultimate end--the highest good of being. God aims at promoting
every interest according to its relative value. He proceeds upon a vast scale of
benevolence, which induces Him to cause his sun to rise, and his rain to descend,
upon the evil and the good. The very fact that God is pursuing one end, and the sinner
another, leads the sinner, almost continually, to misinterpret God's ways, and works,
and word. The wisdom and virtue of God so conflict with the sinner's selfishness,
as to keep him in almost a continual fret.
- 3. The sinner's selfishness naturally tends to make him misunderstand the moral
law, to overlook its spirituality, and to consider obedience to consist either in
outward acts, or inward feelings. And seldom do sinners understand obedience to the
moral law, to consist simply in universal disinterested benevolence.
- 4. The selfishness of the human heart, led the Jews to misunderstand and misinterpret
the ceremonial law, and to look upon it as a religion or works. Instead of understanding
it to be a system of typical instruction, by and through which the most spiritual
truths were taught, their selfishness led them to regard the splendid temple and
the vast round of rites and ceremonies, and costly sacrifices, as a splendid, costly,
gorgeous set of rites, such as the great Mogul might institute, or some human deity
might cause to be observed, in relation to himself.
- 5. Being in a selfish state of mind, and not understanding the spirit of the
Old Testament, God appears to them, under that dispensation, to have been malignant,
revengeful, selfish, bloody. Under the gospel, He appears to them as at the opposite
extreme of selfishness, and as exhibiting such an overweening fondness for men, as
to be far from exercising even needed severity. They seem unable to understand how
it is, that it is the same God, and the same state of mind, that manifests itself
under both dispensations. They are far enough from realizing, that the same benevolence
required the exterminating wars in the days of Moses, and Joshua, and Samuel, that
poured out the Savior's life's blood upon the cross, and manifested such vast forbearance
in the days, and in the person of Christ. Their selfishness is such, that they do
not understand how it is that benevolence manifests itself in all the variety of
ways, in which God has dealt with men at different times. They do not understand
that it is the same benevolence, manifesting itself in a regard to the public good,
that sends sinners to hell, and takes the righteous to heaven--that it was the same
spirit in Samuel, that led him to hew Agag in pieces, before the Lord, that in other
circumstances, in the person of Jesus Christ, could stand in the midst of the fiery
furnace of persecution, even unto death, unangered, and sweetly quiet as a lamb.
- 6. One class of selfish minds are legalists. Having been convicted of sin, their
selfishness takes on that peculiar type. They are, perhaps, remarkably strict in
the outward observance of the Sabbath, and the ordinances of God's house. They seem
to be always dissatisfied with themselves, and with every body else--vexed and harassed
with the consideration that they do not meet the demands of their own conscience.
They are always confessing their heart sins, but never forsaking them. Having no
faith in Christ, they know nothing of gospel liberty. Not knowing what it is to eat
and drink for the glory of God, their table becomes a snare and a trap, and a stumbling-block
to them, They are uncomfortable themselves, and render those around them so. Cheerfulness
looks shocking to them, and appears altogether like unbecoming levity. Encouraging
any of the arts, appears to them like conformity to the world, and even the temperate
enjoyment of such things as are requisite to health, comfort, and usefulness, appears
to them inconsistent with benevolence. They do not seem to know that all these things
are parts of benevolence, but look upon them as a spirit of self-gratification, just
as a man who knows nothing in his own experience, of eating from any other motives
than self-gratification, would not, of course, understand how others could do the
same things only as they were influenced by the same motives.
- 7. Another class of selfish persons are antinomian perfectionists. They have
so much faith, as they vainly dream, that they can violate law without sin.
- 8. A third, and much larger class, are antinomian anti-perfectionists. They expect
to be saved by imputed righteousness. They are far enough from intending or expecting
to be holy or sanctified, in their own persons. They disclaim all pretensions to
any thing more of personal holiness, than barely enough to support a faint hope that
they have been regenerated. If they have been regenerated, with them, it is clear,
that they are in a state of perpetual justification, on account of their once having
exercised faith in Christ. They do not pretend to obey the law of God themselves,
but as they understand it, Christ obeyed it for them, and his personal obedience
is imputed to them. They acknowledge the law to be obligatory upon them, indeed,
but suppose themselves to be justified by the gospel, while they live in disobedience
to the law. Instead of regarding the gospel, as the means of inducing entire obedience
to the law, they regard it as opposed to the law, in such a sense, as really to justify
one who continues to disobey the law.
- 9. The same doctrines are understood differently by different persons, according
to their different states of mind. The doctrine of self-denial, is understood by
some, not as the deposing of self, the enthroning of God in the heart, the devotion
of the whole being to Him, and doing every thing, even eating and drinking, for his
glory. But to them, the doctrine of self-denial, is a system of penance, of outward
retrenchments, of bodily mortifications, a denial and trampling down, of the very
nature of man. Fastings, celibacy, and multitudes of monkish tricks, seem to be indispensable
to their ideas of self-denial. They do not understand that in all these things, to
what extremes soever they may be carried, there is not necessarily one particle of
Christian self-denial. But these are oftentimes nothing else than the manifestations
of a legal spirit, as may be seen in this. They are connected with an acid and vexed
state of mind, a spirit of complaining and censoriousness--a disposition to complain
of every body that does not fall in with their particular views, and come up to their
- 10. Others understand the doctrine of Christian self-denial to mean nothing more
than abstinency from outward extravagance. And to abstain from extravagance with
them, is to keep a little back from going beyond every body else in self-indulgence.
- 11. But another class who are wise, understand the doctrine of self-denial to
be as it is, a total renunciation of selfishness in all its forms, the doing, and
using, and being every thing for the glory of God. They understand the doctrine of
self-denial to require them to hold every thing, even life itself, at the absolute
disposal of God, in so high a sense, as not to count their own lives dear to them,
if the cause of Christ demands that they should be given up--that while they thus
hold their lives and their all at the disposal of God, they do not wantonly and recklessly
cast their lives away as a thing of nought, but carefully preserve and enjoy their
lives, while, in the Providence of God, permitted to do so. And so in regard to every
thing else which they have and are. While every thing is held at God's disposal,
they do not recklessly cast away and squander, or give away, to be squandered by
the improvident around them, the useful things, which God has put in their possession,
but temperately and thankfully use such of them, as can conduce to their health,
comfort, or usefulness, until the Providence of God shall call for the relinquishment
of some or all of them; for his glory. Then they count these things not dear to them,
but yield instant possession, not only without gainsaying, but with joyfulness.
- 12. To one class of selfish minds, the doctrine of Christian liberty is synonymous
with the doctrine of indulgences. With them, liberty is license. The denial even
of their lusts, is legality and bigotry. They have so much faith, and such Christian
liberty, that they can violate the laws of their being, use with impunity the most
unhealthy kind of diet, and in the most extravagant and unhealthy quantities--can
use narcotic drinks, and even take opium and alchohol, as some of the good things
that God has made for their enjoyment. I know a woman, who is a most pertinacious
smoker of tobacco. When expostulated with for using it, she calls it her Isaac, says
she once laid it upon the altar, and the Lord gave her the privilege of using it.
And she imagines that her faith is such, that she can use it without sin. Paying
any attention to dietetic reform, or almost any branch of reform, is to this class
of persons, legality. Because they are allowed things healthful, comfortable, convenient,
they rush into the extremes of self-indulgence. To this class of persons the true
exhibition of the doctrine of Christian liberty, is regarded as a license to extravagance,
and intemperance in almost all things.
- 13. There is another class to whom the doctrine of true Christian liberty look
suspicious, and at least to border hard upon self-indulgence. Their legal spirit
is grieved with it. But the wise understand, and are edified by it. To them the doctrine
of Christian liberty is only that of living, eating, drinking, dressing, being, using,
and enjoying all really good and useful things, for good and useful purposes, and
for the glory of God. To them there is no tendency to extravagance or intemperance,
or licentiousness, in this doctrine, at all.
- 14. To one class of persons, the doctrine of Christian forbearance, as taught
by Christ, and illustrated by his life, is synonymous with the doctrine of ultra
non-resistance, that no government, family, state, or divine, has a right to use
force, for the public good. To them, force, even in the suppression of mobs, insurrections,
or to prevent the most horrible crimes, is inconsistent with Christian forbearance.
- 15. To another class Christian forbearance means nothing more than that you are
to appeal to the civil law, instead of the bayonet or the fist, to secure your selfish
ends. While to the wise, the doctrine of Christian forbearance, is nothing more than
the true application of the law of universal benevolence to human conduct. There
is a considerably large class of persons, the attitude of whose minds is such, that
they put such a construction upon particular precepts of Christ, as to make them
flatly contrary to the spirit of the law as expounded by Himself. Christ has summed
up the requirements of the moral law, and included all moral obligation in the two
great precepts; "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and thy
neighbor as thyself." Now, it is agreed, so far as I know, on all hands, that
the true spirit and meaning of the law of God, as thus explained by Christ, is, that
every interest shall be regarded and treated according to its relative value. Consequently,
that a less interest should always be sacrificed to a greater--that, of two evils,
the least is to be preferred, and whenever a less interest comes in conflict with
a greater, the less is to be given up, and the greater secured. This is the principle,
upon which all just governments are administered. And no power in the universe can
render it unlawful to inflict penalties by physical force, where the highest good
demands it. But this class of persons would understand the precept, "resist
not evil," to require so much, as that governments are not to suppress mobs,
or rebellion, by physical force, or that evil should be resisted under any circumstances,
and in cases where we have all the evidence we can have, that resistance is indispensable
to the public good. Thus they array Christ against Himself, represent Him as giving
such an exposition of the moral law, as to require every interest to be regarded
and treated according to its relative value, and at the next breath, as saying that
whatever the public good may demand, and whatever interest may demand it, evil is
not to be resisted.
- 16. The doctrine of government, and of self-defense, under circumstances where
the law of benevolence demands it, is to some, a license to revenge. To others, it
is an antiquated relic of barbarous times--something that would do, under a former
dispensation, when God was not as benevolent as He is at present, or when the severe
Father, and not the benevolent Son of God, laid down rules of conduct. But with them,
the present dispensation is one of an entirely different spirit, as if another God
ruled the universe, and as if the present dispensation was designed to rebuke the
But to the wise, the doctrine of government, the infliction of penalties for the
public good, of self-preservation and defense, where the law of benevolence plainly
demands it, is only the true application of the law of love.
1. The truly wise may be known by the manner in which they are affected by the truth.
Preach to them whatever doctrine you will, if it be true they will understand it,
be edified by it, and be sure to make a wise improvement of it, self-denial, or Christian
liberty, Christian forbearance, or whatever doctrine you will, it will find its counter-balance
in their minds--will not carry them to extremes, but will be the instrument of their
sanctification. They that are not truly wise or religious will be seen to be injuriously
affected by almost every truth you preach. Either they will not be moved by it in
any direction, or they will go to such extremes as to develop a monstrosity of character.
Wisdom is justified of all her children. I understand this to be a universal truth.
And that this is the real characteristic, not only of some of these, but of all of
those who are truly wise.
2. The selfish will of course misunderstand the wise. When they pursue outwardly
the same course of conduct, they will be supposed to do so from the same motives.
If they eat, drink, marry, or are given in marriage, build houses, cultivate land,
pursue business of any kind--if they labor or rest, journey or stay at home, walk
or ride, sleep or wake, or whatever they do, which is done by those who are selfish,
it will be understood by them to be done from the same motives by which they are
actuated. But in this they are entirely mistaken. They give themselves credit for
just as much piety, as any have or can have, who do outwardly the same things. Their
mistake lies in this, that they suppose others to be actuated by the same motives
3. None but spiritual minds understand what Christian liberty is. Paul understood
what it was to be free from the restraints and constraints of the ceremonial law.
And yet there was no tendency in his mind to a lax morality. A true Christian alone
understands what it is to eat and drink, to dress, to walk and ride, to wake and
sleep, and live, and be, and do, all for the glory of God. He alone knows how to
use the things of this world as not abusing them, and understands the secret of owning
all things, and yet selfishly indulging in the use of none of them.
4. Those who have been truly convicted of sin, and have seen the spirituality of
the law of God, and are truly converted, if they fall back, generally fall into a
state of legality, and find themselves in grievous and iron bondage, while others
who have only been excited but not truly slain by the law and converted, will, when
they fall from this excitement almost always fall into latitudinarian antinomianism.
This last is much the largest class of professors of religion.
5. No doctrine of the gospel can be fully preached by an enlightened and benevolent
mind, without frequent and painful apprehensions of the results on certain classes.
He must watch with unspeakable solicitude, the developments that are made in different
minds, as an almost certain indication of whether they are converted or not.
6. Whenever the mind has fallen into a misapprehension of any doctrine, and has consequently
received a wrong bias, any attempt to correct that bias by the exhibition of the
truth will shock prejudice, and give pain. For example: let one who has embraced
the ultra doctrine of the non-resistants listen to a correct exhibition of the rights,
necessity, and duties of government, the true principle of self-defense and self-preservation,
and he will feel almost as much shocked as if he should witness the fighting of a
duel. So let one who has embraced the idea of the doctrine of self-denial, which
has been entertained in different ages of the Church by many persons, as requiring
little less than a system of mendicancy--let such a one listen to a discourse on
the doctrine of Christian liberty, and he will feel almost as much shocked as if
you were granting indulgences to extravagance. So let one who has imbibed wrong notions
on the subject of Christian retrenchment, that it requires Christians to give up
every thing but the mere necessaries of life, with whom it is a violation of Christian
principle to use elliptic springs upon his wagon, or a top, or boot--to build a cornice
on a house--to have a button on your coat where you do not need to use it--who will
not allow that any thing is due to the eye or the ear--with such an one, improvements
in the arts, the cultivation of music, painting, poetry, improvements in the style
of building, in orders of architecture, in short almost all improvement in the physical
condition of mankind, are regarded with jealousy if not with pain. He would listen
to a discourse in which a true application of the law of God should be made to all
such things, with unutterable pain, principally because of the perverted state of
his mind, by a false view of the subject.
7. The wise feel relieved and refreshed with truth, when mist has been thrown around
any subject, by those who are in error. They may have been thrown into doubt and
embarrassment for a time, but when the light comes, they will receive it, and be
edified and sanctified by it.
8. Every prominent doctrine of the gospel seems to be set for the rise and falling
again of many in Israel. The spirit of reform is abroad in the land. The wise are
temperately but firmly pushing these reforms. The rash misunderstand them and go
to extremes. The conservatives misunderstand them also, and go in an opposite direction.
It is curious to see how things move forward under the government of God. The doctrines
of the abolitionists, to some minds lead directly to and result in the most ultra
views of non-resistance. The doctrine of entire sanctification in this life, in some
minds, leads to antinomian perfectionism. But the wise understand. "Wisdom is
justified of all her children." And multitudes see no tendency in abolition
principles to ultra non-resistance, nor in the doctrine of sanctification to the
doctrine of antinomian perfectionism. They hold on the even tenor of their way, in
pushing these wholesome reforms upon the attention and to the hearts of men. May
the Lord speed them. Amen.
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).
"Oberlin Evangelist" Index- 1843
RELATED STUDY AID:
Index for "The
Oberlin Evangelist": Finney:
Voices of Philadelphia