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Phila delphia > "THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST" Lectures by Charles G. Finney

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Church of Philadelphia

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The Oberlin Evangelist

Charles G. Finney

Sermons and Lectures
by Charles G. Finney,
president of Oberlin College

Official Publication of Oberlin College
Oberlin, Ohio

While Mr. Finney was masterful
at presenting the intricacies
of a "
Systematic Theology" ---New Window
for the comprehensive study
of the seminary student,
the sermons and lectures from
"The Oberlin Evangelist"
were written for the lay person,
as stated in Mr. Finney's own words,

"I will try to write
as if I had you all before me
in one great congregation,
as if I beheld your countenances
and were addressing you 'face to face.'"

-from "Professor Finney's Letter of January 1, 1839" below.

Professor Finney's Letter
of January 1, 1839
from "The Oberlin Evangelist"


Beloved in the Lord:

My body is so far worn and especially my organs of speech so far exhausted that I cannot visit and preach to you orally the word of life. I therefore address you through the press, as the most direct and effectual medium through which I can communicate my thoughts.

I propose, the Lord willing, to address to you through the columns of "The Oberlin Evangelist" from time to time a series of short sermons.

I. On those practical subjects that I deem most important to you and to the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ. When I shall have said what I desire on those more immediately and highly practical topics, if the Lord permit, I design

II. To give you a series of sermons on some doctrinal topics, especially the moral government of God, including the atonement, and the influences of the Holy Ghost in the administration of that government.

A great many of you I know personally, and many more of you know me with whom I have not the honor of a personal acquaintance. You do me the honor to call me your spiritual father, and I have the unspeakable happiness of believing that God has made me instrumental in doing you good. Such of you as know me personally know that it is my manner to deal with great plainness of speech and directness of address to the souls and consciences of men. You remember that this was my manner when I was with you. That this is still the only way to do you good I have the greatest confidence.

Now the thing that I desire to do is, so far as in me lies, to lay open before you the very secrets of your hearts, and also to lead you to an entire renunciation of everything that grieves the Spirit of God, to a relinquishment of selfishness, under every form and in every degree, and to hold out before you those "exceeding great and precious promises" whereby you may be made "partakers of the divine nature." The conductors of this paper are willing that I should make it the medium of spreading before you my thoughts, as the providence and Spirit of God shall enable me. I shall give you a sermon as often as my health and other duties will permit; and whenever you receive this paper containing one of my lectures, I wish you to consider yourself as personally addressed by me. I wish you to read for yourself and feel that I mean you, as much as though it were a private communication made to you from my own pen, or as if I had a personal interview and addressed you "face to face." If I probe you to the quick, I beg of you not to be offended and throw the paper aside and refuse to hear me. "I beseech you by the mercies of God," nay, I conjure you by our Lord Jesus Christ to hear me patiently and with candor. Nay, beloved, I expect candor from you; and many of you, I doubt not, will not only hear me with candor but with joy. I will try to write as if I had you all before me in one great congregation, as if I beheld your countenances and were addressing you "face to face." Nay, I will consider you, and I desire you to consider yourselves, as in such a sense members of my congregation as to attend statedly on my preaching. I shall take it for granted that you read every lecture, and of course address you from time to time as if you had candidly read and attentively considered what I had already said.

Unless I can engage you to grant me one request, I have little hope of doing you good. And that is, as soon as you receive this communication you will make me, yourselves and the subject of the proposed lectures subjects of earnest and constant prayer; and that whenever you receive a paper containing one of the proposed lectures, you go upon your knees before you read it and lay open your heart in solemn prayer before God and to the influence of truth, and implore the aid of the Holy Spirit to make the word to you quick and powerful. We shall all soon meet at the bar of God. I earnestly desire to do you all the good I can while I am in the flesh; and as I do not intend to write for your amusement but solely for your spiritual edification, will you pledge yourselves on your knees before God to examine the truth candidly-- make a personal, faithful and full application of it to your own hearts and lives-- and to improve it as you will answer to God in the solemn judgment? If these are your resolutions and purposes, I am confident the Lord will bless you. I shall not cease to pray for you and intend to make such of you as I can remember special and particular subjects of prayer; and I entreat you to do the same by me.

C. G. Finney signature
A Servant of the Lord Jesus Christ

1839 Index ---New Window
Professor Finney's Letter of January 1, 1839
I. Eternal Life
Lecture II. Faith
Professor Finney's Letter of January 30, 1839
Lecture III. Devotion
Professor Finney's Letter of February 13, 1839
Lecture IV. True and False Religion
Lecture V & VI.The Law of God- No.'s 1 & 2
Lecture VII. Glorifying God
Professor Finney's Letter of April 10, 1839
Lecture VIII. True and False Peace
Lecture IX. Dominion Over Sin
Lecture X. Carefulness A Sin
Lecture XI & XII. The Promises- No.'s 1 - 9
Lecture XIII. Being In Debt
Lecture XIV. The Holy Spirit of Promise
Lecture XV. The Covenants
Lecture XVI &XVII. The Rest of Faith- No.'s 1 & 2
Lecture XVIII. Affections and Emotions of God
Lecture XIX. Legal and Gospel Experience
Lecture XX. How to Prevent Our Employments From Injuring Our Souls
Lecture XXI &XXII. Grieving the Holy Spirit- No.'s 1 & 2

1840 Index ---New Window
Lecture I - IX. Sanctification
Professor Finney's Letter of May 6, 1840
Lecture X & XI. Unbelief
Professor Finney's Letter of June 3, 1840
Lecture XII. Blessedness of Benevolence
Lecture XIII. A Willing Mind Indispensable to a Right Understanding of Truth
Lecture XIV. Death to Sin
Lecture XV. The Gospel the Savor of Life or of Death
Lecture XVI. Christians The Light of the World
Lecture XVII & XVIII. Communion with God- No.'s 1 & 2
Lecture XIX. Temptations Must Be Put Away
Lecture XX. Design or Intention Constitutes Character
Lecture XXI. Confession of Faults
Lecture XXII. Weakness of Heart
Lecture XXIII. A Single and an Evil Eye
Lecture XXIV. Salvation Always Conditional

1841 Index ---New Window
Continuing the 1840 sermons on the general topic of Sanctification (from above)
XXV. & XXVI. Submission to God- No.'s 1 & 2
Lecture XXVII. Love Worketh No Ill
Lecture XXVIII. Self Denial
Lecture XXIX. The True Service of God
Lecture XXX. Entire Consecration a Condition of Discipleship
Lectures XXXI. & XXXII. A Seared Conscience- No.'s 1 & 2
Lecture XXXIII. Conditions of Being Kept
Lecture XXXIV. National Fast Day
Lecture XXXV. Mediatorship of Christ

1842 Index ---New Window
Lecture I. Thy Will Be Done
Lecture II. Danger of Delusion
Lecture III. Ability and Inability
Lecture IV. God Under Obligation to Do Right
Lecture V. Ordination
Lecture VI. Wisdom Justified of Her Children

1843 Index ---New Window
Lecture I. Prove All Things
Lecture II. Nature of True Virtue
Lecture III. Selfishness
Lecture IV. Christian Character
Lecture V. Christian Warfare
Lecture VI. Putting on Christ
Lecture VII. Way to Be Holy
Lecture VIII. What Attainments Christians May Reasonably Expect to Make in This Life
Lecture IX. Necessity and Nature of Divine Teaching
Lecture X. Fulness There is in Christ
Lecture XI. Justification
Lecture XII. Unbelief
Lecture XIII. Gospel Liberty

Lecture XIV. Joy in God
Lecture XV. The Benevolence of God
Lecture XVI. Revelation of God's Glory

1844 Index ---New Window
Lecture I. Hardness of Heart
Lectures II. & III. The Eyes Opened to the Law of God- No.'s 1 & 2
Lecture IV. Christian Witnesses for God
Lecture V. Fearing the Lord and Walking in Darkness
Lecture VI. Blessed are the Poor in Spirit

1845 Index ---New Window
Lecture I. The Sin of Fretfulness
Lecture II. Governing the Tongue
Lecture III. Dependence on Christ
Lecture IV. Weights and Besetting Sins
Lecture V. Rejoicing in Boastings
Lectures VI. & VII. The Church Bound to Convert the World- No.'s 1 & 2
Lecture VIII. Trusting in God's Mercy
Lecture IX. The Old Man and The New
Lecture X. Coming Up through Great Tribulation
Lecture XI. Delighting in the Lord
Lecture XII. Having a Good Conscience
Lecture XIII. Relations of Christ to the Believer
Lecture XIV. The Folly of Refusing to be Saved
Lecture XV. Seeking the Kingdom of God First
Lecture XVI. Faith in its Relations to the Love of God
Lecture XVII. Victory over the World through Faith

1846 Index ---New Window
Lecture I. The Nature of Impenitence and the Measure of Its Guilt
Lecture II. The Rule by Which the Guilt of Sin is Estimated
Lecture III. On Divine Manifestations
Lecture IV. On the Lord's Supper
Lecture V. Forfeiting Birth-Right Blessings
Lecture VI. Afflictions of the Righteous and the Wicked Contrasted
Lecture VII. On Becoming Acquainted With God
Lecture VIII. God Manifesting Himself to Moses
Lecture IX. Coming to The Waters of Life
Lecture X. The Blessedness of Enduring Temptation
Lecture XI. Quenching the Spirit
Lecture XII. Responsibility of Hearing the Gospel

1847 Index ---New Window
Lectures I. & II. All Things for Good to Those that Love God-- and
All Events Ruinous to the Sinner- No.'s 1 & 2

Lectures III. & IV. Heart Condemnation, A Proof that God Also Condemns-- and
An Approving Heart, Confidence in Prayer- No.'s 1 & 2

Lectures V. & VI. & VII. Conditions of Prevailing Prayer- No.'s 1 & 2 & 3

1848 Index ---New Window
Lecture I. Refuges of Lies
Lecture II. The Spirit Not Striving Always
Lecture III. The Excuses of Sinners Condemn God
Lecture IV. Conditions of Being Saved
Lecture V. Substitution
Lecture VI. Pride of Heart Deceives

1849 Index ---New Window
Lecture I. Mutual Confession of Faults, and Mutual Prayer
Lecture II. God's Anger Against the Wicked
Lecture III. Evil Thinking
Lecture IV. Prayer for A Pure Heart
Lecture V. The Joy of God's Salvation
Lecture VI. Jesus, A Savior from Sinning
Lecture VII. The Self-Hardening Sinner's Doom
Lecture VIII. The Death of Saints Precious
Lecture IX. God Not Pleased with the Death of the Wicked
Lecture X. The Spirit of Christ, and the Spirit of True Christianity
Lecture XI. Judicial Blindness
Lecture XII. The Peace of God Ruling in the Christian's Heart
Lecture XIII. Receiving Honor from Men and Not from God
Lecture XIV. Faith the Work of God

1850 Index ---New Window
(only one lecture)
Lecture I. The Foundation, Conditions, And Relations Of Faith

1851 Index ---New Window
Lecture I. The Loss When a Soul is Lost
Lecture II. Awaking from The Sleep of Spiritual Death
Lecture III. Jesus Christ Doing Good
Lecture IV. The Wicked Heart Set to do Evil
Lecture V. Repentance Before Prayer for Forgiveness

1852 Index ---New Window
Lecture I. The Child-Like Spirit an Essential Condition of Entering Heaven
Lecture II. The Fearful Results of a Spiritual Relapse
Lecture III. God's Love to Sinners as Seen in the Gospel
Lecture IV. & V. All Things for Good to Those That Love God-- All Things Conspire for Evil to The Sinner- No.'s 1 - 2
Lecture VI. Guilt Modified by Ignorance
Lectures VII. & VIII. Salvation Difficult to The Christian--Impossible to The Sinner-- The Salvation of Sinners Impossible- No.'s 1 - 2
Lecture IX. Paul and Felix, Or Preaching and Procrastination
Lecture X. Christ Tempted, Suffering, and Able to Succor The Tempted
Lecture XI. Election and Reprobation

1853 Index ---New Window
Lecture I. Prayer and Labor for the Gathering of The Great Harvest
Lecture II. Men Invited to Reason Together With God
Lecture III. The Saviour Lifted Up, and the Look of Faith
Lecture IV. The Sinner's Excuses Answered
Lecture V. God's Love for A Sinning World
Lecture VI. Alive Without the Law, Slain Thereby
Lecture VII. The Essential Elements of Christian Experience
Lecture VIII. Death to Sin Through Christ
Lecture IX. The Rich Man and Lazarus
Lecture X. Losing One's First Love
Lecture XI. Jehovah's Appeal to Sinners and Backsliders

1854 Index ---New Window
Lecture I. Converting Sinners A Christian Duty
Lecture II. Christ Our Advocate with The Father
Lecture III. The Inner and The Outer Revelation
Lecture IV. On Quenching The Spirit
Lecture V. What Men Highly Esteem, God Abhors
Lecture VI. Variety in the Service Offered to God
Lecture VII. License, Bondage and Liberty
Lecture VIII. Living by Faith
Lecture IX. God's Commandments Not Grievous
Lecture X. The Wages of Sin
Lecture XI. The Wants of Man and Their Supply
Lecture XII. Where Sin Occurs God Cannot Wisely Prevent It
Lecture XIII. The Ways of Sin Hard; Of Holiness, Pleasant
Lecture XIV. The Indications and The Guilt of Backsliding
Lecture XV. The Christian's Genuine Hope
Lecture XVI. The Primitive Prayer-Meeting

1855 Index ---New Window
Lecture I. On Prayer
Lecture II. On Persevering Prayer for Others
Lecture III. On Being Almost Persuaded to be a Christian
Lecture IV. On Neglecting Salvation
Lecture V. On Prayer for The Holy Spirit
Lecture VI. Conscience and The Bible in Harmony
Lecture VII. God Has No Pleasure In The Sinner's Death
Lecture VIII. On Being Searched of God
Lecture IX. On Injustice To Character
Lecture X. God's Goodness Toward Men Basely Requited
Lecture XI. Losing First Love
Lecture XII. Men, Ignorant of God's Righteousness, Would Fain Establish Their Own
Lecture XIII. Adorning the Doctrine of God Our Savior

1856 Index ---New Window
Lecture I. Thanks for The Gospel Victory
Lecture II. Gospel Ministers Ambassadors for Christ
Lecture III. The Destruction of the Wicked
Lecture IV. The Wicked Stumbling in Their Darkness
Lecture V. On The Atonement
Lecture VI. The Sinner's Natural Power and Moral Weakness
Lecture VII. Moral Insanity
Lecture VIII. On Believing with The Heart
Lecture IX. On Offering Praise to God

1857 Index ---New Window
Lectures I. & II. Owing God- No.'s 1 & 2
Lectures III. & IV. On Sinning & On Being Holy- No.'s 1 & 2
Lecture V. The Lord's People His Portion
Lecture VI. The Wrath of God Against Those Who Withstand His Truth
Lecture VII. On Confessing and Being Cleansed From Sin

1858 Index ---New Window
Lecture I. The Doom Of Those Who Neglect The Great Salvation
Lecture II. The Treasure And The Pearl
Lecture III. The Self-Righteous Sinner Doomed To Sorrow
Lecture IV. Sufficient Grace
Lecture V. On Following Christ
Lecture VI. Christian Consciousness, a Witness For God
Lecture VII. God's Love To Us
Lectures VIII. - X. The Blessedness Of The Merciful- No. 1
Blessedness Of The Pure In Heart- No. 2
Blessed Are The Persecuted- No. 3
Lecture XI. On Refuges Of Lies
Lecture XII. God's Wrath Against Those Who Withstand His Truth
Lecture XIII. Abiding In Christ And Not Sinning

1859 Index ---New Window
Lecture I. On Tenderness of Heart
Lecture II. The One Thing Needful
Lecture III. On Self-Denial
Lecture IV. The Way That Seems Right, But Ends In Death

1860 Index ---New Window
Lectures I. & II. On Loving God- No. 1
On Love To Our Neighbor- No. 2
Lectures III. & IV. Spiritual Delusion- No. 1
On Leaving One's First Love- No. 2

1861 Index ---New Window
Lecture I. Christ's Yoke Is Easy
Lecture II. Christ Our Advocate
Lecture III. Living To Please God
Lecture IV. Wherefore Do The Wicked Live
Lectures V. - VII. Hardness Of Heart- No. 1
Harden Not Your Heart- No. 2
Tender-Heartedness- No. 3
Lecture VIII. The Kingdom of God In Consciousness
Lecture IX. Looking To Jesus
Lectures X. & XI. Profit and Loss; Or The Worth of The Soul- No.'s 1 & 2
Lectures XII. & XIII. Sinners Not Willing To Be Christians- No.'s 1 & 2
Lectures XIV. & XV. Holding The Truth in Unrighteousness- No.'s 1 & 2
Lecture XVI. Any One Form of Sin Persisted In Is Fatal To The Soul
Lectures XVII. - XIX. Revival- No.'s 1 - 3

1862 Index ---New Window
Lectures I. & II. Great Peace- No.'s 1 & 2
Lectures III. & IV. Moral Depravity- No.'s 1 & 2

  Wisdom is justified.

"With respect to this New Covenant,
I remark in a word
that the promise of it has been due for more than
eighteen hundred years,

and I would solemnly ask,

shall it lie in your Bibles till they rot
and your souls sink down to hell
before you lay hold on
the salvation from sin
which it promises?"

-from "The Covenants" ---New Window
Lecture XV of "The Oberlin Evangelist" series by Charles G. Finney

  Wisdom is justified.


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