The GOSPEL TRUTH
CHARLES G. FINNEY
To Edwin Lamson
5 January 1860
[MS in Finney Papers, 2/2/1]
Envelope: Edwin Lamson Esq
5, Beacon St, Boston
Postmarks: BOLTON JA 6 60
BOSTON JAN 23
5. Jan. 1860.
My Dear Brother Lamson,
I presume Mrs. F. has acknowledged
the receipt of yours & also informed
you of our labors. I have only time
to write a few lines. In one of your
letters you speak of my being destined to
meet opposition. This has always been the case.
Somehow I have been directed especially to
those fields where there are many adversaries of
the truth as I hold & preach it. Nevertheless
a wide & effectual door has been opened
to me every where. I came to this country
because I knew that this is the strong hold
of Antinomianism. The very reasons urged
by my friends against my coming, to wit,
the opposition I should encounter, were
with me, the decisive reasons for coming.
I kne[w] the bond[a]ge of the people & of ministers
to the protestant pope, Alias, Catechism.
I am not afraid to expose its absurdities.
The Lord is constantly extending our
field of influe[nce] & the newspaper attacks
upon me the Lord is turning to good
account. O, if I were 20 years younger!
I know nothing of the Finney of whom you
speak, save that there is a man calling
himself by that name, & hailing from
Ohio, who is a mighty Spiritist, & an
infidel, as I understand. I presume
he is from this country, or from Ireland,
as there are of this name a considerable
number in these Islands. Do you not
recollect that some 15 year ago or more, a
man by the name of Barnabus Finney
or Phinney, a Rev. was convicted of adultery
near Providence R.I. & silenced, & excommunicated.
Soon after this a Toledo, Ohio, paper informed
the publick that that "same notorious Phinney
was professor of theology at Oberlin". I presume
that no one ever publickly contradicted it.
We are expected home in the spring, but if
our health holds out I fear we can not
get away. There is immense labor to be performed
here & constantly growing encouragement to labor.
I never saw the gospel take more uniform effect
than since we came to England this time.
The uniform testimony where we labor is, "the
gospel as you preach it, is new to us, & the
religion you preach is a different thing than
that of which we have ever conceived. This
is surely the Old fashioned gospel as taught
& lived by the Apostles & primitive
Church". Br. Lamson the orthodoxy of
Calvin & his follow[er]s, The Arminianism of
the Methodist & kindred denominations
are logically & practically Antinomianism.
They all hold to a justification in sin,
i.e. that christians are justified while they
are living in known sin. I have a Book
in my head & in my heart, showing up
the the [sic] Antinomianism of all the so called
orthodox denominations who dream of a state
of justification that neglects & rejects the
doctrine & the experience of sanctification.
Any system that justifies any farther & faster
than sin is relinquished, ex animo, (You &
Mary will pardon the latin), is, & must
be essentially Antinomian. Just think,
the church opposing sanctification, &
yet hold to justification, by an imputed
righteousness. Why, on the face of it, this
is naked Antinomianism. Why if the
law is still in force it is impossible
that a man should not be condemned
by it if he persists in any sin. Justifica
tion in any sin is & must be Antinomianism.
But it was not my design to have broached
this subject. If a man never lives without sin
in this life, then he is never justified in this
life, be the moral law is repealed. If repentance
is not the present giving up of all sin, then men
are not forgiven when they repent. Or sin is
forgiven that is still persisted in. This is antin
nomianism & abomination. If any say that sin
is only forgiven so far as it is abandoned & that
sin is never for a moment fully abandoned in this
life & therefore never fully forgiven. This is the
same as to admit that men are never justified
in this life. The fact is that the true gospel knows
nothing of justifying men except upon condition
that they, ex animo, remove all sin.
Calvinism & Arminianism, though antagonists in
other respects, are both utterly at fault in
holding alike that men are justified while
living in sin. That is, they hold that justifica
tion precedes the giving up of all known
sin. If they did not hold this how many of their
church members would they regard as in a
justified state? This I constantly charge
them with, in this country, & ask them if
they are not Antinomians, how many of their
members are in a justified state. In Scotland
I constantly pressed them with this question.
Love to Mary & a 100 kisses the the [sic] children. C.G.Finney