5:12 ff. But can we even imagine God taking this subordinate place in His own eyes, attributing “greater intrinsic value”—which Finney says is the reason why we are to seek the happiness of the universe above our own—to the universe than to His own all glorious Being? Born in Connecticut, he was raised in various frontier towns in central New York, an area known as the "Burned-Over District" for the revivals that had swept through it. And now we get at the gist of the matter. Are we moral beings only when we are acting, but become unmoral and only brutes whenever we are quiescent? It is preferring self-gratification to that benevolence which is the sum of virtue. The “matter” of the action, as the Schoolmen express it, must be right, too. C. Hodge, “Finney’s Lectures on Theology,” in The Biblical Repertory and Princeton Review, 1847, pp. 368 The New York Evangelist, August 25, 1835, quoted in The Literary and Theological Review, March, 1836, p. 16. But, doing so, he is merely objectifying for the sake of visualizing it, a system which is really subjective: no such objective system exists, in his view, in fact. The idea of strength here intrudes again and we read that “the will or heart is so weak in the presence of temptation, that there is no hope of its maintaining its integrity, unsupported by strength from Christ,” and it must therefore renounce its dependence on its own strength and cast itself on Christ. A persuasion which is invariably effective has at least as remarkable an appearance as the uncaused unanimity of action which it alone breaks, and which, it is affirmed, it alone can break. “Scripture Doctrine of Christian Perfection,” 1839 (ed. Faith receives and confides in him, and consents to be governed and directed by him. There are two varieties of Congruism, an Augustinian and an Anti-Augustinian. C. G. Finney, on Making a New Heart,” 1832. 482–527; and “Finney’s Lectures,” in same, October, 1835, pp. Finney wrote, "I had read nothing on the subject [of the atonement] except my Bible, & what I had there found on the subject I had interpreted as I would have understood the same or like passages in a law book" [ Memoirs, 42]. It was God, no doubt, who made the human race after such a fashion that its selfish impulses should get the start of its reason in the development of the child, who should therefore be hopelessly committed to sin before it knew any better. A daily newsletter featuring the most important and significant events on each day in Christian History. 408–428. He is compelled to confess of the reprobate, that “God knows that his creating them, together with his providential dispensations, will be the occasion, not the cause, of their sin and consequent destruction.” Of course, God’s foreknowledge of these results when He created the reprobate, necessarily involves them also in His comprehensive intention; but equally of course the sin and destruction of the reprobate were not His ultimate end in their creation. When an attempt is made to explain what precisely is meant by such exhortations,420 what we are told is that in the first place they are not meant “in the antinomian, do-nothing, sit-still sense” of the words. It was not “the best, the truest-hearted, the most reliable and useful disciples” who had it; they might on the contrary be “the weak-minded, the shallow, the merely sentimental.” This has been the experience at Oberlin, according to Leonard. 411–415). There is no imputation; no transmitted corruption of heart. His family moved to upstate New York (by Lake Ontario), when he was two, but by 1812, Charles was back in Warren attending school. 406–438 (also issued in book form, 1841). At the same time Charles Finney became Oberlin’s professor of theology. It is a system of teleological ethics which he presents to us; or, to be more precise, we may perhaps say in modern phraseology, that it is a system of hedonistic as distinguished from eudaemonistic ethics, that is to say a system in which “happiness” rather than “welfare”—although of course the two ideas readily run into one another—is the ethical end, the ultimate object to be achieved by action and conduct, the standard and final criterion of what ought to be—by their tendency to achieve which therefore the ethical character of actions is to be estimated. “The Reviewer Reviewed, or Finney’s Theology and the Princeton Review,” 1847 (incorporated in the “Lectures on Systematic Theology” of 1851). Cf. And his object is to represent it as becoming so voluntarily—with a voluntariness, which, although embracing every individual of the race, is repeated in each individual’s case in the completest isolation of distinct personal action. A state of entire sanctification can never be attained … by any works of law, or works of any kind, performed in your own strength, irrespective of the grace of God. An infant when he comes into the world, is just a little animal. All Rights Reserved, Joel R Beeke, Dr Michael S Horton, Richard B Gaffin Jr, Greg Gilbert, Comfort in Remembering God's Judgments of Old in the Midst of Trial, An Encouragement to be Valiant in a Time of Persecution and Martyrdom, If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, Rethinking Regeneration (5-Part MP3 Series). In this variety there is no place for election, except on foresight of the salvability of men. But, says Finney,355 “He regards their destruction as a less evil to the universe, than would be such a change in the administration and arrangements of his government as would secure their salvation.” They are sacrificed thus to the good of the universe, and perish not because justice demands that they perish, but because it is better for others—surely not for themselves—that they perish. 15 Ibid., 206. Finney is near to this crude form of statement when he writes:385 “Sin may be the result of temptation; temptation may be universal, and of such a nature as uniformly, not necessarily, to result in sin, unless a contrary result be secured by a Divine moral suasion.” He is still near it when he writes:386 “Sin may be, and must be, an abuse of free-agency; and this may be accounted for, as we shall see, by ascribing it to the universality of temptation, and does not at all imply a sinful constitution.… Free, responsible will is an adequate cause in the presence of temptation, without the supposition of a sinful constitution, as has been demonstrated in the case of Adam and of angels.… It is said that no motive to sin could be a motive or a temptation, if there were not a sinful taste, relish, or appetite, inherent in the constitution, to which the temptation or motive is addressed.… To this I reply,—Suppose this objection be applied to the sin of Adam and of angels. If the happiness of being is the end to which everything is to give way, it is difficult to see why we should be excluded from our share of it. It is true that in point of fact all of us suffer from moral depravity, all of us without exception. Why Do I Need to Keep Asking for Forgiveness? It is as un-philosophical and strange, as to say, that the birth of a child consists in his breathing, or that the creation of the sun consists in his shining.”. “This ability,” he says,359 “is called a natural ability, because it belongs to man as a moral agent, in such a sense that without it he could not be a proper subject of command, of reward or punishment. 402 P. 593: Repentance “implies a return to full obedience to the moral law”; “regeneration and repentance consist in the heart’s return to full obedience, for the time being, to this law.”, 403 P. 537: “Present evangelical faith implies a state of present sinlessness.… Its existence in the heart must be inconsistent with present sin there. It differs from that doctrine at this point only in its completer Pelagianism. 427 D. L. Leonard, as cited, pp. “Edwards,” says he (p. 491) “assumed that no agent whatever, not even God himself, possesses a power of self-determination. God might be eliminated from it entirely without essentially changing its character. That His will is necessarily determined by His self-existent nature? All that can be said is that this is the way God has chosen to make man. Finney became a controversial figure in the Presbyterian Church. He means, on the contrary, that man has by his natural constitution as a free agent the inalienable power to obey God perfectly. It appears that Finney wishes to make it appear that election is in some sense the cause of salvation. 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