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Nov 12, 2018
What Saith the Scripture?http://www.WhatSaithTheScripture.com/
MORAL GOVERNMENT,THE ATONEMENT, MORAL AND PHYSICAL DEPRAVITY,
NATURAL, MORAL, AND GRACIOUS ABILITY, REPENTANCE, FAITH,JUSTIFICATION, SANCTIFICATION, &c.
BY THEREV. CHARLES G. FINNEY,
PROFESSOR OF THEOLOGY IN THE OBERLIN COLLEGIATE INSTITUTE, OHIO, AMERICA.
THE WHOLE WORK REVISED, ENLARGED, AND PARTLY RE-WRITTEN BY THE AUTHOR,
DURING HIS LATE VISIT TO ENGLAND.
EDITED AND REVISED, WITH AN INTRODUCTION,BY THE
REV. GEORGE REDFORD, D.D., LL.D,OF WORCESTER
WILLIAM TEGG AND Co., 85, QUEEN STREET,CHEAPSIDE.
PREFACE BY THE EDITOR.
THE Lectures of the REV. PROFESSOR FINNEY, which are here given to the British public, were first delivered to the classof theological students at Oberlin College, America, and subsequently published there. They were unknown in this country,except to a few of the Author's personal friends, until his arrival in England, about two years since. His name, however, waswell known, and several of his works had been extensively read.
The Editor having had the pleasure and honour of forming a personal acquaintance with the Author soon after his arrival inthis country, did not long remain ignorant of his Theological Lectures. After the first hasty perusal of them, he venturedstrongly to recommend their publication, both for the sake of making the British churches better acquainted with the Author'sdoctrinal views, and also on account of the direct benefit which students, and other inquirers into the theory of gospeldoctrines, would be likely to derive from a work so argumentative, and so unlike all the works on systematic and dogmatictheology known to the English schools. After due consultation and deliberation the Author pressed upon the Editor the workof revision, and placed the Lectures in his hands, with the request that he would read them carefully, and suggest suchalterations as he might deem desirable to adapt the work to the English reader; and then submit the whole to the Author'sadoption or rejection.
This task the Editor undertook, and has performed in the best manner his time and ability would allow. The Author hascarefully examined every part of his work again, and made such corrections and alterations as to him seemed needful. The
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Editor has merely performed the part of a friend, in suggesting such improvements as might make the Author's meaningbetter understood; but without interfering with that meaning, and without intending to give it an unqualified approbation. Infact, the Lectures have been to a considerable extent re-written by the Author, and in this edition proceed as strictly from hisown pen, as in the American edition.
There is another important circumstance with which the reader should be made acquainted, which will enhance the value ofthis edition, and render it highly preferable to the American; it is this: on the publication of these Lectures they attracted theattention of many able theologians in America, and were severely attacked by the periodical press. The Author replied atconsiderable length to the most learned and distinguished of his critics, fairly and fully meeting every objection that had beenurged against his views. The present edition incorporates the substance of these objections with the replies of the Author.
The Editor, however, would not have ventured to recommend the publication of these Lectures in this country, if he had notdeemed them, as a whole, eminently deserving the attention and examination of British theologians. When they first cameinto his hands, they struck him as so pleasingly unlike all the other systems of dogmatic theology and moral philosophy it hadever been his lot to peruse, so thorough in their grappling with difficulties, and often so successful in the solution of them; soskilfully adjusted to modern metaphysical speculations, and so comprehensive of what is valuable in them; so manifestly theproduction of a masculine intellect and independent thinker, that he was not only pleased with the air of freshness andoriginality thrown over old themes of dry and elaborate discussion, but greatly benefited and instructed by some of theAuthor's views of important moral and theological questions. It may not be the same with all the Author's English readers; butassuredly few will rise from the perusal of the whole work without confessing that, at least, they have seen some points in anew and impressive light, have been constrained to think more closely of the opinions they hold, and in other respects havebeen benefited by the perusal.
As a contribution to theological science, in an age when vague speculation and philosophical theories are bewildering manyamong all denominations of Christians, this work will be considered by all competent judges to be both valuable andseasonable. Upon several important and difficult subjects the Author has thrown a clear and valuable light which will guidemany a student through perplexities and difficulties which he had long sought unsuccessfully to explain. The Editor franklyconfesses, that when a student he would gladly have bartered half the books in his library to have gained a single perusal ofthese Lectures; and he cannot refrain from expressing the belief, that no young student of theology will ever regret thepurchase or perusal of Mr. Finney's Lectures.
One recommendation he begs respectfully to offer to all readers whether old or young; it is this: suspend your judgment of theAuthor and his theology until you have gone completely through his work. On many subjects, at the outset of the discussion,startling propositions may be found which will clash with your settled opinions; but if you will calmly and patiently await theAuthor's explanation, and observe how he qualifies some strong or novel assertions, you will most probably find in the issue,that you have less reason than you supposed to object to his statements.
In many respects Mr. Finney's theological and moral system will be found to differ both from the Calvinistic and Arminian.In fact, it is a system of his own, if not in its separate portions, yet in its construction; and as a whole is at least unique andcompact; a system which the Author has wrought out for himself, with little other aid than what he has derived from the fountitself of heavenly truth, and his own clear and strong perception of the immutable moral principles and laws by which theglorious Author of the universe governs all his intellectual creatures.
There is one circumstance that will recommend the volume, and ought to recommend it, to impartial inquirers who are notbound to the words of any master save their divine One; it is, that the Author in his youth was trained in none of thetheological schools of his country, and had imbibed, therefore, no educational preference for one system more than another.He had been disciplined to argumentation, logic, and the laws of evidence, in a very different arena; and had advanced in thescience of the Law before he had felt the truth of Christianity, or thought of studying its doctrines. His views, therefore, willbe found more deserving of attention and examination, from the fact of his mental independence in the formation of them.
Should the work be read in a calm, devout, unprejudiced and liberal sprit, there can be not doubt that the reader will deriveboth pleasure and instruction. The earnestness, single-mindedness, deep piety, and eminent usefulness of the Author, both as apreacher and lecturer, justly entitle this production of his pen to the candid and patient investigation of English divines.
Apart from the peculiarities which will be observed, and the critical objections to which some will deem his theology justlyliable, there can be no doubt that many will find in it a treasure of inestimable worth, a key to many perplexing enigmas, anda powerful reinforcement of their faith in the Christian verities. With at least the hope that such will be the effects of itspublication in England, the Editor has cheerfully contributed his humble aid, and now commits the work to the blessing ofHim by whose Word of Truth its real value must be finally tested.
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This was typed in by John , Terri, and Aaron Clark, and the many friends of this Systematic. Thank you!The only source for these lectures came from the printed 1851 English edition of SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY by
Charles Finney. This is 100% Finney with no deletions or additions. This version has been out of print for over 100years. This version is the pure standard. All other versions of SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY are taken from this
These lectures would not exist without all the hard work of John, Terri and Aaron Clark.
Reformatted by Katie Stewart.
Table of Contents
PREFACE BY THE AUTHOR.
LECTURE I.Various classes of truths, and how the mind attains to a knowledge of them
LECTURE II. -- Moral Government.Definition of the term law . . Distinction between physical and moral law . . The essential attributes of moral law . .Subjectivity . . Objectivity . . Liberty, as opposed to necessity . . Fitness . . Universality . . Impartiality . . Justice . .Practicability . . Independence . . Immutability . . Unity . . Equity . . Expediency . . Exclusiveness
LECTURE III. -- Moral Government--Continued.Definition of the term government . . Distinction between moral and physical government . . The fundamental reason ofmoral government . . Whose right it is to govern . . What is implied in the right to govern . . Point out the limits of this righ