Charles Finney

Charles Finney

Quotes By:

John Adams
Samuel Adams
Whittaker Chambers
Charles Finney
Benjamin Franklin
Patrick Henry
John Jay
Thomas Jefferson
Paul Johnson
William K. Kilpatrick
C.S. Lewis
Abraham Lincoln
James Madison
Ronald Reagan
Gene Edward Veith
George Washington
Noah Webster
John Witherspoon

Great Quotes By: CHARLES FINNEY

From Finney’s Systematic Theology:

You were made to think. It will do you good to think; to develop your powers by study. God designed that religion should require thought, intense thought, and should thoroughly develop our powers of thought. (2)

If my brother is inquiring after truth, I will, by the grace of God, “hear with both ears, and then judge.” But I will not promise to attend to all that cavillers may say, nor to notice what those impertinent talkers and writers may say or write who must have controversy. But to all honest inquirers after truth I would say, Hail, my brother! Let us be thorough. Truth shall do us good. (3)

I have not yet been able to stereotype my theological views, and have ceased to expect ever to do so. The idea is preposterous. None but an omniscient mind can continue to maintain a precise identity of views and opinions. Finite minds, unless they are asleep or stultified by prejudice, must advance in knowledge.… True Christian consistency does not consist in stereotyping our opinions and views, and in refusing to make any improvement lest we should be guilty of change, but it consists in holding our minds open to receive the rays of truth from every quarter and in changing our views and language and practice as often and as fast as we can obtain further information. I call this Christian consistency, because this course alone accords with a Christian profession. A Christian profession implies the profession of candor and of a disposition to know and obey all truth. It must follow that Christian consistency implies continued investigation and change of views and practice in conformity with increasing knowledge. No Christian, therefore, and no theologian should be afraid to change his views, his language, or his practices in conformity with increasing light. (3)

Free will implies the power of originating and deciding our own choices, and of exercising our own sovereignty, in every instance of choice upon moral questions—of deciding or choosing in conformity with duty or otherwise in all cases of moral obligation. That man cannot be under a moral obligation to perform an absolute impossibility, is a first truth of reason.… Unless the will is free, man has no freedom; and if he has no freedom he is not a moral agent, that is, he is incapable of moral action and also of moral character. (33)

As the great law of benevolence, or universal good willing, demands the existence of human governments, all men are under a perpetual and unalterable moral obligation to aid in their establishment and support. In popular or elective governments, every man having a right to vote, every human being who has moral influence, is bound to exert that influence in the promotion of virtue and happiness. And as human governments are plainly indispensable to the highest good of man, they are bound to exert their influence to secure a legislation that is in accordance with the law of God. The obligation of human beings to support and obey human governments, while they legislate upon the principles of the moral law, is an unalterable as the moral law itself. (232)

It does not follow that because you may not take it upon yourself to redress your own wrongs by a summary and personal infliction of punishment upon the transgressor, that therefore human governments may not punish them. All private wrongs are a public injury; and irrespective of any particular regard to your personal interest, magistrates are bound to punish crime for the public good. While God has expressly forbidden you to redress your own wrongs, by administering personal and private chastisement, He has expressly recognized the right, and made it the duty of public magistrates to punish crimes. (233)

In a popular government, politics are an important part of religion. No man can possibly be benevolent or religious, to the full extent of his obligations, without concerning himself, to a greater or less extent, with the affairs of human government. It is true, that Christians have something else to do than to go with a party to do evil, or to meddle with politics in a selfish or ungodly manner. But they are bound to meddle with politics in popular governments, because they are bound to seek the universal good of all men; and this is one department of human interests materially affecting all their higher interests. (234)

It is admitted that selfish men need, and must feel the restraints of law; but yet it is contended that Christians should have no part in restraining them by law. But suppose the wicked should agree among themselves to have no law, and therefore should not attempt to restrain themselves, nor each other by law; would it be neither the right nor the duty of Christians to attempt their restraint, through the influence of wholesome government? It would be strange that selfish men should need the restraints of law, and yet that Christians should have no right to meet this necessity by supporting governments that will restrain them. It is right and best that there should be law. It is even absolutely necessary that there should be law. Universal benevolence demands it; can it then be wrong in Christians to have anything to do with it? (235-236)

It follows that no government is lawful or innocent that does not recognize the moral law as the only universal law, and God as the Supreme Lawgiver and Judge, to whom nations in their national capacity, as well as individuals, are amenable. The moral law of God is the only law of individuals and of nations, and nothing can be rightful government but such as is established and administered with a view to its support. (236)


Selected by Dr. Alan Snyder