Francis of Assisi had a good end in view when he gave alms: he wished to relieve distress. On the incident see further, R. Wheatley, “The Life and Letters of Mrs. Phoebe Palmer,” 1876, p. 267, and for Henry Belden, see the “Princeton Theological Seminary Biographical Catalogue,” 1909, p. 128. It would not be quite exact to say that Finney permits to Adam no influence whatever on the moral life of his descendants. The good end is no longer conceived as making the means chosen to secure it good; it is conceived as related to a system of means which are themselves good and which form with the end a good system. His psychology compels him thus to reject any and every doctrine which appears to him to imply anything permanent in the soul, permanently affecting its actions, except the bare soul itself. He knows perfectly well that the maxim facit per alium facit per se is as valid here as elsewhere. For the most deeply lying of all the assumptions which govern his thinking is that of the plenary ability of man. “A truly regenerated soul cannot live a sinful life.” “The new heart does not, cannot sin. Pure will plus external inducement—which may be in the way of temptation to evil, or may be in the way of incitement to good—that is all that comes into consideration in our moral judgments. “The elect were chosen to eternal life,” we read,354 “upon condition that God foresaw that in the perfect exercise of their freedom, they could be induced to repent and embrace the gospel.” If there is not asserted here election on the foresight of faith, there is asserted election on the foresight of the possibility of faith: on foreseeing that they can be induced to believe, they are elected to life, and the inducements provided. And in thus shifting the matter from the subjective to the objective sphere, the whole character of the scheme is altered. Righteousness here too is discovered only in our ultimate choice, from which all the righteousness of subordinate choices, volitions, actions derives. 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. That the will of God and of all moral agents is determined, not by themselves, but by an objective motive.” Leave out the word “objective” and remember that the motive is just the present self and see what becomes of that statement. A similar decay of interest in the doctrine was working itself out at Oberlin itself. See The Oberlin Evangelist, 1839–1862; and The Oberlin Quarterly Review, 4 vols., 1845–1849. In this whole statement the greatest care is expended in making it clear that all that God does toward saving men is directed to inducing the objects of salvation to save themselves. Called the “father of modern revivalism” by some historians, he paved the way for later revivalists like Dwight L. Moody, Billy Sunday, and Billy Graham. The ultimate result is that, representing God as ordering the universe for the one end of the production of the greatest happiness of the greatest number, he finds himself teaching that men are left to perish solely for the enhancement of the happiness of others. Finney produced a variety of books and articles. What Adam has to do with it is this—because Adam sinned, and because all after Adam have sinned—they all would inevitably have sinned whether Adam had sinned or not—the physical nature inherited by babies is to a certain extent disordered, and this makes their impulse to self-gratification perhaps somewhat more clamant than otherwise it would have been.381 In any case this impulse would have been strong enough to carry the day against the new ethical knowledge which comes to them when they become moral agents. But this is only a feeling of the sensibility, and, if restrained only by this, he is just as absolutely selfish as if he had stolen a horse in obedience to acquisitiveness.” So, page 295: “If the selfish man were to preach the gospel, it would be only because, upon the whole, it was most pleasing or gratifying to himself, and not at all for the sake of the good of being, as an end. G. F. Wright, “Dr. Why Reading the Bible From Start to Finish is a Life-Changing New Year’s Resolution, The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self And How the Church Can Respond, False History of Creationism Is Full of Beans, God Transcendent And Other Selected Sermons (eBook), Why We Should Pray Like the Puritans (Even if We Don’t Sound Like Them), Hope for a Suffering World: Divine Impassibility, Encouragement for Hard Times from Saints of Old, John B. Calhoun’s Mouse Utopia Experiment and Reflections on the Welfare State, A Christian Case for the Importance of History, What Christians Misunderstand About Discernment, The Development of the Doctrine of Infant Salvation, Heaven: Rejoicing in Future Glory (Series). Books by Mahan:—“Principles of Christian Union and Church Fellowship,” 1836. Or if a man preaches the gospel from a desire to glorify God and benefit his fellow men, he is just as wicked for so doing as a pirate. He cannot subintroduce here an attribution of intrinsic goodness to them: what makes these means good is in his system solely their relation as means to the supreme ultimate end. He does not guide and control us, by irresistible power or force, but faith confides the guidance of our souls to him. John C. Lord, “Finney’s Sermons on Sanctification, and Mahan on Christian Perfection,” in The Biblical Repertory and Princeton Review, April, 1841, pp. B. Warfield, © 2018 Monergism by CPR Foundation. "You have taken your stand," he said. He has acquired a bias to what is objectively sinful, before he faces temptations to these very things, now by his newly obtained knowledge of right and wrong, become also subjectively sinful. Take an unrenewed sinner.… It is necessary that he should be born again. How far he was prepared to go, we may see from a remark he makes in the course of his reply to George Duffield (p. 970). The rightness of these means is given to them by their inherent relation as means to this supreme ultimate end, to which they are related as its only means. It appears that Finney wishes to make it appear that election is in some sense the cause of salvation. To act on selfish motives means with him to act on any other motives than the good of being as supreme end. But as the names of the earlier Egyptian kings may still be read even in their defaced cartouches, so the name of Oberlin may still be read stamped on movements which do not acknowledge its parentage, but which have not been able to escape altogether from its impress.429. There is no more telling page in Charles Hodge’s very telling review of the first volume of Finney’s “Lectures on Systematic Theology,”393 than that in which he develops the consequences of this position. Shopkeepers closed their businesses, posting notices urging people to attend Finney's meetings. C. Hodge, “Finney’s Lectures on Theology,” in The Biblical Repertory and Princeton Review, 1847, pp. 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. But I do mean, that as you are wholly indisposed to use your natural powers aright, without the grace of God, no efforts that you will actually make in your own strength, or independent of his grace, will ever result in your entire sanctification.417 “By the assertion, that the Holy Spirit, or the Spirit of Christ, is received by faith, to reign in the heart, it is intended, that he is actually trusted in, or submitted to by faith, and his influence suffered to control us. P. H. Fowler, “Historical Sketch of Presbyterianism within the Bounds of the Synod of Central New York,” 1877, p. 137: “ ‘Oberlin Perfectionism’ had considerable currency for a time, and Chenango and Cortland and other Presbyteries condemned it, and Onandaga Presbytery published an able refutation of it.”. That we are to do the right because it is right, and not because of any tendency we perceive in it to advance the good of the universe, by no means makes the practice of “disinterested benevolence” a sin. He stayed there for only a year, leaving to pastor Oberlin Congregation Church and teach theology at Oberlin College. “Our doctrine,” says he,371 describing the essence of the Taylorite contention, “was that god governs mind by motive and not by force.” “Edwards,” he adds, “did not come up to that fair and square, Bellamy did not, and, in fact, nobody did until Taylor and I did.” Finney did also—“fair and square.”. To choose the end is at the same time, and by the same act, to choose this system of means. The question comes to be, Is the man good or bad, or only his acts? We think that is not an unfair statement of the logical results of some elements of his system. This seems to Finney fundamentally wrong, and he endeavors to reduce it to absurdity. And it turns secondly on the nature of the depravity attributed by the Augustinians to man. Not so much with his theology, but with his desire to call people to a saving knowledge of Christ. Clearly this is a religion of law, and the heart of it is obedience: and these are ethical conceptions. ", The revivalistic Congregationalists, led by Lyman Beecher, feared that Finney was opening the door to fanaticism by allowing too much expression of human emotion. It is his psychology which is at fault. We believe in Christ for our sanctification; He then acts persuasively in our souls for sanctification; under this persuasion we act holily; that is our sanctification. And our ultimate choice is righteous only when it is the choice of the good of universal being. Asa Mahan … and others,” in The American Biblical Repository, January, 1841, pp. We Must Find a Better Way to Talk About Race, Over 42.6M abortions conducted in 2020, surpassing world's leading causes of death, Social Justice Vs. That is, without this liberty or ability he could not be a moral agent, and a proper subject of moral government.” “Moral agency,” says he again,360 “implies free agency. 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