What Saith the Scripture?


Phila delphia > Great Peace- No. 1 by Charles G. Finney from "The Oberlin Evangelist"

The Oberlin Evangelist

Lecture I
Great Peace- No. 1

Charles G. Finney

Charles G. Finney

A Voice from the Philadelphian Church Age

  Wisdom is Justified

by Charles Grandison Finney

Public Domain Text
Reformatted by Katie Stewart

from "The Oberlin Evangelist"
February 12, 1862

Lecture I.

by the Rev. C. G. Finney

Text.--Psa. 119:165: "Great peace have they who love thy law, and nothing shall offend them."

In speaking from this text, the first enquiry is --

I. What is intended by the term "law"?

II. What is it to love the law of God?

III. What is the peace here spoken of?

IV. The text asserts two facts.

I. What is intended by the term "law"?

II. The next enquiry is what is it to love the law of God?

But let no one think that this feeling is true religion. It may and must exist where true religion is; but it may exist where true religion is not.

Complacency of the conscience is a purely intellectual state, and has no moral character. It is simply the intense approval, by the conscience, of that which is right.

Complacency of the will is in itself moral rightness. It is the will cordially and intensely unifying itself with the law of right. It seems to me that people often misconceive what choice really is, and think of it as a mere dry decision, involving no fervor, no cordiality, nothing but a cold dry decision. Whereas the complacency of the will or choice is a deep preference. It involves an earnest cordiality, and intense embracing, a warm, ardent sympathizing with that which is right; for these words -- embracing, cordiality, sympathy, may be applied to the will as well as to the sensibility or to the intellect.

III. The next enquiry is: What is the peace here spoken of?

Here there is harmony between the whole soul and God's will. It involves satisfaction with God's will, and a deep repose of soul in its perfect wisdom and goodness. The whole mind seems to be satisfied in respect to God and his will, character, and dealings. It has nothing left to desire more.

IV. The text asserts two facts.

It cordially accepts the will of God as revealed in providence. Therefore the peace of the soul in this state is great. It is not only peace, but great peace; profound, deep, flowing, conscious peace.

Oftentimes this sense of acceptance comes in connection with some passage of Scripture, which suggests that God has accepted or does accept us; but in every case, this sense of acceptance involved in this great peace is no doubt the inward witness of the Spirit. By this I mean, it is God himself revealing to us his own state of mind towards us. We become in some way inwardly aware that God is pacified and at peace with us, and the spirit of adoption, by which we cry Father, Father, is often a matter of intense consciousness.

But suppose that all manifest resistance should cease, and we should fall into apathy and not think of God at all. Suppose his providence should move in such channels as not to disturb us, and we should remain without feeling or any thought of God:-- this would not be peace. Peace is not the mere absence of dissatisfaction and opposition to God. It is positive acquiescence, a cordial embracing of his will. It implies, as already shown, complacency in God's whole will and in all his ways.


of easily misunderstood terms as defined by Mr. Finney himself.
Compiled by Katie Stewart

  1. 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 XII).

  2. 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).

  3. 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).

  4. 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).

  5. 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).

  6. 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).

  7. 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).

  8. 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 III).

  9. 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).

  10. 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).

  11. 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).


Next "Oberlin Evangelist"

C. G. Finney


Topical Links: On Sound Doctrine

New Window


Index for "The Oberlin Evangelist": Finney: Voices of Philadelphia

What's New

Homepage Holy Bible .Jehovah Jesus Timeline .Prophecy Philadelphia Fellowship Promises Stories Poetry Links
Purpose ||.What's New || Tribulation Topics || Download Page || Today's Entry
Topical Links: Salvation || Catholicism || Sound Doctrine || Prayer
Privacy Policy