Preached On Thursday Evening, November 22, 1849.
BY THE REV. C. G. FINNEY,
At The Borough Road Chapel, Southwark.
"Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God."--Hebrews xi. 5
In speaking from these words I shall inquire--
I. WHO GAVE THIS TESTIMONY TO ENOCH?
II. NOTICE THE NATURE OF THE TESTIMONY!
III. CONSIDER HOW THIS TESTIMONY WAS GIVEN!
IV. THE CONDITIONS UPON WHICH HE MUST HAVE RECEIVED IT, AND UPON WHICH WE MAY OBTAIN SUCH TESTIMONY?
V. THE IMPORTANCE OF HAVING THIS TESTIMONY!
VI. CONSIDER SOME OF THE REASONS WHY SO FEW SEEM TO HAVE THE TESTIMONY THAT THEY PLEASE GOD?
This is the outline of thought to which I would call your attention, and I suppose that these several points will include subjects on which every thoughtful mind will naturally desire to be informed.
I. Our first inquiry is--WHOSE TESTIMONY WAS IT THAT ENOCH HAD THAT HE PLEASED GOD? Surely it must have been God's testimony, for who could give this testimony, but God? If God was pleased with Enoch, and he knew it, how otherwise could he have become possessed of this knowledge but by a revelation from God? And this was doubtless the apostle's meaning, and it was the fact, that Enoch had God's testimony that he pleased him.
II. I inquire, secondly, into THE NATURE OF THIS TESTIMONY. (1.) And I remark first, that it was not simply a negative testimony, a mere absence of sin and guilt, and that God was not displeased with him. It was not a mere absence of anything. A hardened sinner will sometimes have this negative kind of testimony: he may not feel the frown of God, nor have any sense at all of God's displeasure. (2.) The testimony then, that Enoch had, was a positive testimony. God in some way, doubtless, convinced Enoch, and let him understand that he was pleased with him. He indicated the fact that he was pleased with him. Enoch himself had God's testimony that he pleased him.
III. The next inquiry is--HOW ARE WE TO SUPPOSE THAT THIS TESTIMONY WAS GIVEN TO HIM. (1.) I observe first that it was not given merely in a providential manner--God did not manifest to Enoch by the course of his providence that he was pleased with him; this has never been the course of God with man. Every one knows that oftimes it is quite impossible to know the moral character of a man by the way in which God deals with him in this world. And this fact completely shows that this world is not the state of retribution, of rewards and punishments. I fear that there are many mistakes made on this subject. The friends of Job, manifestly reasoned wrong on this subject, they supposed, and argued, that God's dealings with Job proved him to be a wicked man; but Job resisted this mode of reasoning, and insisted that they had a false view of the subject. Almost the entire scope of the book of Job goes to establish this point--that God does not by his providence in this world indicate his view of the moral character of man. The Bible in many places affirms this. "He makes his sun to shine upon the evil and upon the good, and his rain to descend upon the just and upon the unjust." The wicked are often exalted whilst the righteous are trodden down and afflicted. Neither in their life nor in their death does God often manifest his views of their character. The Psalmist observed this, and he says, "the wicked flourish like a green bay-tree, they are not in trouble like other men, neither are they plagued like other men, verily I have cleansed my heart in vain and washed my hands in innocency." But he said this before he was well instructed. When he thought to know this it was too painful for him, he stumbled at it, until he went into the house of God, and there he understood the matter. There he saw how God dealt with men according to their characters, that God set the wicked in slippery places, and cast them down at last into destruction. These remarks are designed to illustrate what I have just said--that we are not to suppose that God providentially gave this testimony to Enoch. And it is according to the universal observation and testimony of mankind, that God does not show his special pleasure in men by this means. (2.) I remark again: that God must, doubtless, have in some way indicated the fact to the mind of Enoch through his word, by his Spirit. How else could he have made the communication? It must have been either by providence that God revealed to Enoch that he was pleased with him, or it must have been indicated to his mind directly by the Spirit, as I suppose, through his word. It should be borne in mind that at that time the scriptures were not filled up as they are now, and, therefore, the Spirit of God could not, without a direct revelation from heaven, have made any application to his mind of much that is written in the Bible. Yet, doubtless, God did manifest himself to Enoch through his word by his Spirit. And here, let me say, that in all cases where men have this testimony, it must be of this character. It must be that God gives this testimony through his word by his Spirit. (3.) But let me say again: it is done by speaking peace to the soul, giving the soul to understand that God is at peace with it, shedding peace and diffusing it over his soul, giving him the Spirit of adoption, leading him to understand by God's smile on his soul, drawing him into union with himself, and shedding abroad his love in his heart, and thus creating such a state of mind that the individual can clearly understand that he is accepted of God, and that God has pleasure in him. If I had time to dwell upon this part of the subject, I think it would be very easy to show that it is in exact accordance with the experience of every Christian that has ever known anything of experimental religion. Any one that has ever had real communion with God, that has ever known what it is to be drawn into union with God in such a manner as to sympathize so deeply with him as to partake of his holiness, and drink of the river of his pleasures, and so to understand what the mind of God is, as to partake in part of its nature, and understand the nature of the peace which God enjoys. And let me say that there is such a thing as God giving to the mind a sense of justification, in other words, a sense of his approval, so that the mind can have no doubt of it at the time. It perfectly understands its acceptance with God. God so smiles upon the soul, and so sheds himself into the soul, that it seems to breathe an atmosphere of peace, so deep and so calm that it is in no doubt of its acceptance with God, no doubt of being in that state with which God is pleased.
IV. In the next place--THE CONDITIONS UPON WHICH ENOCH RECEIVED THIS TESTIMONY, AND UPON WHICH EVERY ONE ELSE MAY RECEIVE IT. (1.) The first condition that I notice is, that the individual who will have this testimony must actually please God, for God will bear no false testimony. It is not enough that Christ has pleased God, that in some mysterious manner Christ's righteousness is imputed to the man. It is only a mere trueism to say that God is pleased with Christ. In the text it is said that God was pleased with Enoch. Now I suppose that we are to understand something more than this--that God accepted him for Christ's sake. I suppose that we are to understand that God, for Christ's sake, gave him so much of the Holy Spirit as to secure in him a state of mind actually pleasing to God, and that through the Spirit he actually did that which pleased God. We say then that any one who would enjoy this testimony that he pleases God, must be in such a condition of mind as is acceptable to God, and live a life that is pleasing to God. (2.) I remark again: that there must be, as a condition, implicit confidence in God. There is no duty that is so pleasing to God. When Enoch lived the atonement had not yet been made, but then it was understood that an atonement was to be made. And if this was so, it is certain that he would have had implicit confidence in God as a condition for pleasing him. The Bible affirms that without faith it is impossible to please him; Enoch must therefore have had implicit confidence in God. But what is implicit confidence? I mean by implicit confidence, that he must have abjured all self-confidence, and have cast himself upon God's grace. And in order to this, he must have had some knowledge of the manner in which God expects man to have implicit confidence in his truthfulness, and faithfulness, and mercy. (3.) But let me mention another condition--he must have lived to God. It is said of him in the Old Testament that he walked with God three hundred years, and then was translated, and was not, for God took him. This walking with God implies agreement--for the Bible says, "how can two walk together except they be agreed"--which in Bible language, means, that two cannot walk together except they are agreed. Therefore when it is said that "Enoch walked with God," we are to understand that his will and his heart were at one with God; and if this was true he might well have the testimony that he pleased God. And be it remembered that every one who would please God, and would have this testimony, must do as Enoch did; he must agree to have God's government and no other, he must live for every end for which God lives. (4.) Again: he must set his heart upon pleasing God. No individual will have the testimony that he pleases God unless he really means to please. A man, I say, who would have the testimony that he pleases God, must have a heart set upon pleasing him, he must regard it as of the greatest importance that he please God, he must give himself to the work of pleasing God as a condition of pleasing him. (5.) Again: Another condition is, that he must not be contented at all to live without the testimony that he pleases God. He must not only aim to please him, but must not be content to live without the testimony that he does please him. If he truly aims to please God, and his heart is set upon this, he will not be satisfied without he succeeds in that which he aims to do, that he really does please God. If an individual does aim to obtain this testimony, but if he considers it only of little importance whether he succeeds, of course he will not have it. (6.) I remark again: another condition is, he must believe it possible for him to please God. If he does not believe it possible for him to please God; if he has such an idea of God's requirements that they are so exceedingly strict, and that he requires so much of man, that it is almost hopeless of man to expect to please him, if he has this idea, I say, he need not expect to please him. I have heard many persons talk as if it was the height of presumption to try to please God in this world, as if it would be most dangerous to the soul to indulge the belief that it could please him. These persons represent God as so infinitely exacting, that the highest angel in heaven might hardly hope to please him--then how could man hope to do it? Now when an individual has this idea--that God requires his creatures to make brick without straw, that he requires of men that which they cannot do, because he does not give them the ability to do it, then he rejects every expectation of pleasing God. When an individual has this idea he is in a state of mind that cannot please God. It is true that God is holy, that his requirements are perfect. It is true that he requires men to love him with all their heart, and soul, and strength, and their neighbours as themselves, but it also true that his grace is equal to his requirements; and in his requirements he pledges his grace to enable us to perform. It were infinitely strange, not to say unjust, if it were otherwise. (7.) But again: another condition of having this testimony is this--a belief that we may have the testimony--not only that we may please God, but that we may secure his testimony to the fact that we do please him. If we get the idea that God is slow to manifest his pleasure, it will no doubt effectually prevent our having the testimony. It is the tendency of sin to prevent the soul enjoying this delightful assurance of its acceptance with God, and the arch enemy of souls is ever ready to prevent rising to this belief and conviction.
Now, let me pause here, and apply what I have said to all classes of persons: not only to professed saints, but to those also who are not professed saints. Now, do you really desire the testimony that you please God? Of course, you cannot expect to have it while you remain impenitent. But, may you not enjoy this testimony, if you set your heart upon pleasing God? Yes! you may. To be sure you have not this testimony now, and some of you may say, it will be a great while before I can have it. Why? Will it take you a great while to repent, and set your heart upon obeying God? Oh, no! Well, it is as important for you to have this testimony as any body else,--then why not say at once, As I can have this testimony by the grace of God, I will not live another day without it. But I would observe, here, that the spirit of self-sacrifice is a condition of having this testimony. Christ lived not to please himself, but to please his Father: and, in order to do this, he was willing to sacrifice everything and his own life also. Now, if any of his followers would have the testimony that they please God, they must have the self-sacrificing spirit of their master. They must be willing to be used up, for the good of his kingdom. They must be willing, as Christ was, to sacrifice even their lives. But, I must hasten to consider
V. THE IMPORTANCE OF HAVING THIS TESTIMONY. (1.) And, I remark, first: if persons have it not, who are professors of religion, or seriously disposed, the best that can be said of them is, that they live in a state of continual doubt. If they have not the testimony that they do not please God, yet they fully admit that they feel such a sense of condemnation as to be as far as possible off from having the testimony that they do please him. Now, perhaps, it is so with some of you--that everything condemns you, every sermon that you hear condemns you, your own consciences condemn you, you cannot go into your closet and pray as you feel you ought: God seems to frown upon you. You have the clearest evidence that you do not please God. Others of you, perhaps, may not be in exactly this state of depression, but your life, to say the best of it, is full of doubts; you have no such evidence that God is pleased with you, as will allow you to rest satisfied. You are the subjects of many doubts, fears, and anxieties. Perhaps, you seldom, if ever, rise higher than to be greatly anxious about yourselves: or, perhaps, you are too careless even to care about it at all. When you have heard some searching preaching, instead of going with clear testimony that you please God, you seldom go further than to get many doubts and perplexities about it. No wonder that you doubt whether you love and please God. If you have not the testimony that you do, you have good reason to doubt: and I beg of you, that unless you have this testimony, not to persuade yourselves that you ought to do other than doubt! The only rational way for you to act is to decide that you do not please God. If you do please him, why this state of anxiety? Why this everlasting halting? Is it because God is unwilling to manifest himself to you, although you do please him? Let your own hearts answer the question. (2.) In the next place, as professors of religion, if you have not this testimony, when you are called upon to proclaim the gospel to sinners and pull them out of the fire, you will find that you have so much to think about yourselves as to be able to do nothing for anybody else. This is a great and sore evil! In how many thousands of cases have I found sinners becoming inquirers, and going for advice and comfort to the church, but the church was unable to do anything for them, because they were in doubt, whether they were Christians themselves. You ask them to pray for sinners, and they can only say, Lord have mercy on me. Now, is this not a great evil? Indeed, it is an evil of the greatest magnitude. Professors of religion, unless they have this testimony, can do but very little for God. I have heard ministers during the time of a Revival, say that they could neither preach nor pray! they had so little evidence of their own acceptance with God that their mouths were shut. What a great evil is this! What can they do for others, when they are in this lamentable condition themselves? They cannot go out and work as men of God ought to work. With what confidence can they preach that which they really do not know that they believe themselves, or hold forth the salvation of which they touch not, taste not, handle not! All such persons are a dead weight upon the cause of God, and hang like millstones round the necks of those who would otherwise pull sinners out of the fire. What minister has not found it true, that when his people were living without knowing that they pleased God, that an immense number of difficulties were thrown in the way of good being done! When the church can only hang upon the minister, they are in a very bad condition. Perhaps it is the case with some of you--that you are hanging like dead weights on the energies and prayers of those who are labouring for the salvation of souls? And it always will be so, if you are without the testimony that you please God. Professors of religion--Where are you? what are you doing? If you have not the testimony that you please God, you are stumbling blocks, you misrepresent religion! What do you mean? You profess to be Christians, children of God; then you ought to have the witness of the Spirit, and hold forth the blessedness of such a salvation to others. But, what are really the facts? Alas! alas! in general professors are always complaining of their leanness and their trials. It would seem, to hear them talk, as if God was the hardest master that any body ever had to serve; that he dealt out his pleasures with so sparing a hand as quite to discourage them! How many times have I heard persons say, if such and such a person's religion is the religion of Christ, it may do very well for a death-bed, but not to live in the world with. Must I go mourning all my days and never have any cheerfulness, if so, I am afraid of such a religion! And well they may be. (3.) But, let me say again: that without this testimony you cannot use the promises. How many times have I heard persons say, if I knew that I was accepted of God, how gladly would I apply to myself such and such promises, but they are meant for the children of God, and I do not know whether I am a child of God or no. O that I did but know that I was a child of God, and I would claim all the promises as mine own. Perhaps this is the language of some of you. Now, the promises may lie in the Bible, and the Bible may rot upon your shelves, and you make no use of them, because you lack the testimony that they belong to you--because you do not know whether you are children of God. (4.) Again: this testimony is indispensable to a rational hope of salvation. What reason has a man to believe that he is personally interested in the salvation of Christ, if he has not this evidence. I know that some persons have a hope that they shall be saved, while they are really living in a state of condemnation. But is this a rational hope? I say, NO; it is not a rational hope. I know that such persons as have it cleave to it, but they have no right to cleave to it, most assuredly. (5.) Again: this testimony is indispensable to peace of mind. No man is at peace till God speaks to him, but when God speaks peace to his soul, he is at peace. But God will not speak peace to his soul till he comes into a state of mind with which God is at peace. (6.) Again: it is indispensable to Christian liberty. Many professors of religion have no conception of Christian liberty. Christian liberty seems to be with them a kind of license that they suppose themselves to have, as resulting from the imputed righteousness of Christ: and as Christ's righteousness is imputed to them, they imagine that they can be personally sinful, and yet acceptable with God. I know that salvation does not depend upon personal holiness; but, without it the man is not a Christian. No man, therefore, possesses Christian liberty, unless he has the testimony that he pleases God. (7.) But I remark again: this testimony is indispensable to Christian cheerfulness. No individual has true cheerfulness without it; the mind will be so oppressed with a sense of guilt that the man can hardly speak a word; from day to day he will go bowed down with a sense of guilt. Real Christian cheerfulness that arises from love, and communion with God and deep sympathy with him, is a kind of cheerfulness which they do not understand who have not this testimony. And, let me say, that it is of the greatest importance that Christians be cheerful, for it recommends their religion to others, and often very materially influences their conduct. Four or five years ago, one of the principal lawyers in the State of Ohio, Judge Andrews, an unconverted man, came to hear me preach; and when I had done, he came and asked me if I would go with him to see an individual that evening. I agreed; and it was to a me a great treat indeed. It was a truly Christian woman that we went to see; and, as soon as we were seated, she began to talk with great cheerfulness, and fullness, of what the Lord had done for her soul. Judge Andrews sat and listened with the greatest attention, and by and by a tear trembled in his eye, and the old lady went on conversing with such cheerfulness, that it rivited[sic.] him, and he sat for three quarters of an hour to hear that woman talk. When we left, he said to me, if this is the religion of Jesus Christ, I am determined that I will not rest till I possess it and know what it is: and there is good reason to believe that he did not rest till he did know what it was by experience. Now, many cases of this kind occur where persons, unconsciously perhaps, influence those around them. How often have I heard men say, when they have seen religion thus cheerfully exhibited, that is the religion for me, that is the religion which meets the demands of our being. Without cheerfulness, a man can scarcely be said to be useful. Let a minister preach to his people without it, and the utmost he will do will be to preach them into condemnation. Said a minister to me, "Brother Finney, tell me what you think is the defect in my ministry; I find that sinners are brought under conviction, but they get no further." I made but a brief answer at the time, but I prepared a sermon in a few days, on the seventh chapter of Romans, contrasting it with the eighth chapter. I showed that the seventh chapter was descriptive of a state of bondage, of law; but, that the eighth was descriptive of the state of Christian liberty. I preached the sermon in the hearing of my brother, and when I had done, he came to me and said, "Brother Finney, if what you have been preaching is true, I do not know anything about religion, for my experience does not go any further than the seventh chapter." Now, said I, you have answered the question that you asked me the other day. You do not know what it is to have liberty, and how can you preach a gospel that you do not understand. The man did not live long in that state. Let me remark here, that it is a mournful fact that the great mass of religious teachers go no further than the seventh chapter of Romans; they can go so far and cry out, "O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death!" but they cannot go on to the eighth and say, "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin condemned sin in the flesh: that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit." Now, a minister cannot lead his people further than he goes himself; and, if the people were to get into the liberty of the gospel otherwise than by his means, he would pour cold water upon them, and tell them that they were getting into a strange fanatical state of mind; but how different will it be when the minister has come into this liberty which the gospel is calculated to give. I now come to consider
VI. SOME OF THE REASON WHY SO FEW PERSONS SEEM TO HAVE THIS TESTIMONY! When I say few, I do not mean to say that the whole number is small, for I am happy to know that it is not. Wherever I go I find persons that understand it, and when they hear the sound, they recognize it as the gospel. But taking the great mass, comparatively few know what it is to enjoy this testimony. (1.) The reason why they have it not, is not because it is so hard to please God. His commandments are not grievous, he says. He is not exacting and hard to please. He expects a willing mind in his service, but he does not expect from man that which he hath not, but only that which he hath. If the heart and will is right, God accepts it; and the man who gives his heart and will to God shall have the testimony that he please God. So that when a man has not the testimony that he please God, it is not because God is unwilling to manifest his pleasure when he is pleased. Some people seem to think that it is dangerous to praise even virtue itself. Flattery is always dangerous, but condemnation is only just where it is deserved. Take a family, for example, where the children are endeavouring to please their parents, and when they know that they have done their best, if they are not commended, they think that injustice has been done them, and they relax in their efforts, because they conclude that it is impossible to please so as to gain commendation, let them do what they will. Just so with a wife, who is always endeavouring to please her husband, and if he is never pleased, the effect is, that she gives up trying, because she sees it is of no use. God in his government supplies this demand of our nature. Let sin be put away from any moral agent, and God loves the agent and manifests his pleasure; it is in his very nature for him to do so. It is but an exception to this rule, that God in a very remarkable and marvelous way hid his face from Christ. Christ was the representative embodiment of sin, and it was necessary that God should make a public demonstration of his hatred of sin, and although Christ was personally holy since he had become the representative of a sinful race, it was necessary that he should have to utter that agonising cry, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" But ordinarily when any body please God, he has just as much willingness to manifest it as the most indulgent of parents have to commend their children when they do right. Some persons, I know, are unwilling to commend their children, and I know that by such conduct they greatly injure their children. When the wife is not commended for kindness to her husband, or the husband to his wife, or children for dutifulness to their parents, great injustice is done, and an immense amount of injury. (2.) In the next place, the reason why so few have this testimony is, because so few really please God, so few really aim to please him. If they were conscious of being sincerely aiming to please God, they would undoubtedly expect to please him; but being conscious that they do not live for that end, they cannot rationally expect to please him, and of course they cannot expect any manifestation of his pleasure. (3.) But again, another reason that so few have this testimony is, that they consent to live without it. If men consent to live without knowing whether they please or displease God, they will assuredly not have the testimony that they please him. (4.) I remark again, that many do not have it, because they have more regard for the approbation of men than the approbation of God. They care so little about pleasing God, that they have ceased to inquire what will please him, and they will not hesitate to do what they know will displease God rather than displease man. These persons, of course, cannot have the testimony of which we are speaking. (5.) I remark again; that great multitudes of persons seem satisfied with mere negative testimony; if they can manage not to have a conscious sense of condemnation they can get along very well. Dearly beloved, as I have gone over these points, have I been stating the history of any of you? You are all strangers to me, and I always feel embarrassed in preaching to persons of whose spiritual state and condition I am ignorant. God only knows, therefore, whether the things spoken to-night meet the case of any of you, or not.
A few remarks will close what I have now to say. (1.) When a soul has once had the testimony that it pleased God and has lost this testimony, it cannot rest without it. Let an individual who once enjoyed the testimony that he pleased God, fall into sin, and such a person will be among the most unhappy and wretched of mankind. (2.) This accounts for the fact, that backsliders in heart are ever the most unhappy of mankind--the man that backslides in heart from God is wretched. I deeply pity the man who is a backslider. I pity the husband who has a backsliding wife--I pity the wife who has a backsliding husband--I pity the children who have backsliding parents--I pity the parents who have backsliding children--I pity the minister who has a backsliding church, and I pity the church that has a backsliding minister; the effect is, that the backslider in heart is filled with his own ways--he is wretched wherever he is, and the language of his heart will often be--
"O, where can rest be found?
"Rest, for the weary soul."
Perhaps some of you remember, and often say--
"Those peaceful hours I once enjoyed,
How sweet their memory still."
When you walked with God and had the testimony that you pleased him. You once enjoyed his testimony, and now you are fallen. Well, let me ask if you are not very uncomfortable in that fallen state? Do not your very dreams torment you? Are you not almost afraid to be alone? Dare you commune with your own heart, and be honest with yourselves? If you are in the condition which I have supposed, you are most unhappy and wretched, wherever you are. You may try to be happy and comfortable, but you never can be till you return to God; but when you have done this, and when God's frown is taken away, and he smiles upon you, then you may have peace. Now will you return? Great as your sins are, will you return? Do you say that your sins are so very great, so that you cannot even lift up your eyes to heaven! Neither could the publican, but he smote upon his breast and cried, "God be merciful to me a sinner." You can do that! If you cannot hold up your head before God, you can get down into the dust, where the Psalmist was when he cried out in the agony of his soul to God and confessed his sin before him. You can do that, and the question is will you do it? (3.) I remark again, what I have said to-night to Christians may with equal propriety be applied to anxious sinners. And to such, I say, you can have the testimony that you please God, if you give yourselves up to please him. If you renounce your sins, and have no fellowship with iniquity, so great is his grace, that through his son Jesus Christ you may breathe the spirit of liberty and of love, and possess the fullness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ. If you will but believe; if you will but make up your minds to walk with God, you may know what it is to have the testimony that you please him. Some of you may be ready to say, O, if I could have this testimony, there is nothing that I would not do; there is no part of the world to which I would not go, if I could obtain acceptance with God. Yes, you want to buy it; but, until you will be content to do the will of God, and cast yourselves wholly upon the grace of Christ for it, you will never possess it. You may say, I have thought, desired, and prayed, and avowed my willingness to do anything if I might but obtain acceptance with God. Did it never occur to you that there was much self-righteousness in your desire to do something to obtain this, otherwise than by the means which God has appointed--it was a self-righteous effort. It is not very difficult to come to Christ; why do not you come to him? What say you, may I come to Christ? Can I come to Christ just as I am? Will he accept me? Yes, you may come to him, and he will accept you. Hear what he says, "Come unto me, all ye that are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest." If you come to Christ, you may have the testimony that you please God; that you believe on him, and cast yourselves upon him, is all God requires of you. And now, you who are professors of religion, and you who are not, is it not best for you one and all to say--by the grace of God we will have this testimony. What minister, what professor, what sinner, in this house, but will say, If by the grace of God, it is offered to me, I will have it and enjoy it, or I will die for it. O God, I will accept thy offered mercy. Lord Jesus, I believe thy gospel, and I accept it. You that have the testimony that you please God, I know that in the depth of your emotions you often groan within you, on account of the miserable death in which some persons are that pretend to live: your souls, pray for them, let them pray on, God's spirit is in the midst of you, and now is the time for a resurrection from the dead. What say you sinner? Will you arise from the dead and come forth? Christ calls you, and presents you with his life-giving blood. He puts it even to your lips. Do you dash it away? Does your soul not want the testimony that God is reconciled to you? Do you not desire the testimony that you please God? If you do, then believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall have the very thing that you require. Now we are going to God in prayer, and what say you, shall we go on your behalf in the name of Christ? Who of you are prepared to go with us to a throne of grace, and cast your souls upon God? What individual now in bondage is willing to be released? Come and sore[sic.] away from all your unbelief, and cast yourself upon Christ. Empty your vessel--cast it bottom upwards and make it quite empty, and then bring it to Christ, and it shall be filled. Will you come? Will you come? WILL YOU COME? Let your heart answer! Let your heart respond! Let it speak out, LORD JESUS MY SOUL HEARS, AND I COME, I COME. Amen.
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