Charles Finney (1792 - 1875)
View images and photos of the speaker Charles Finney. Known as one of the leaders in the Second Great Awakening revival in America. He was a revivalist who called for deep introspection of sin and preaching of the law to bring about sin. He was known to preach 30+ nights on sin and than the last night on Christ to have people flee to Him for mercy. Used greatly in the book: "Revivals of Religion" which is a classic on the subject of revival.
He preached on the true Baptism of the Holy Spirit and its necessity. In his revivalistic campaigns he was used of the Lord to bring some estimate over 50,000 souls to the Lord which many were sound converts. There has been questions raised surrounding his theology in the later years of his ministry but this does not discredit that God used him powerfully in revival and for God's kingdom.
Broadway TabernacleDescription: To break up the fallow ground, is to break up your hearts, to prepare your minds to bring forth fruit unto God. The mind of man is often compared to the ground in the bible. The word of God is the seed sown there, the fruit representing the actions and emotions of those who receive it. To break up the fallow ground therefore, is to bring the mind into such a state that it is fitted to receive the Word of God. Sometimes your hearts get matted down, hard and dry, until there is no such thing as getting fruit from them until they are broken up, and mellowed down, and fitted to the Word. It is this softening of the heart, so as to make it feel the truth, which the prophet calls break up your fallow ground.
Charles FinneyDescription: It is not by any direct efforts to feel. There are great errors on the subject of the laws which govern the mind. People talk about religious feeling as if they could by direct effort, call forth religious affection. But this is not the way the mind acts. No man can make himself feel in this way, simply by trying to feel. The feelings of the mind are not directly under our control. We cannot just will or decide to have religious feelings. They are purely involuntary states of mind. They naturally and necessary exist in the mind under certain circumstances calculated to excite them. But they can be controlled indirectly otherwise there would be no moral character In our feelings, if there were not a way to control them. We cannot say, "Now I will feel so-and-so toward such an object."
Charles Finney 2Description: But we can command our attention to it, and look at it intently, until the proper feeling arises. Let a man who is away from his family bring them up before his mind and will he not feel? But it is not by saying to himself, "Now I will feel deeply for family." A man can direct his attention to any object about which he ought to feel and wishes to feel, and in that way he will call into existence the proper emotions. Let a man call up his enemy before his mind, and his feelings of enmity will rise. So if a man thinks of God, and fastens his mind on any of God's character, he will feel, emotions will come up by the very laws of mind. If he is a friend of Cod, let him contemplate God as a gracious and holy being, and he will have emotions of friendship kindled in his mind. If he is an enemy of Cod, only let him get the true character of God before his mind, and look at it, and fasten his attention on it, and then his bitter enmity will rise against God, or he will break down and give his heart to God.
Charles Finney 3Description: If you mean to break up the fallow ground of your hearts, you must begin by looking at your hearts: examine and note the state of your minds, and see where you are. Many never seem to think about this. They pay no attention to their own hearts, and never know whether they are doing well in religion or not; whether they are gaining ground or going back; whether they are fruitful, or lying waste. Now you must draw off your attention from other things, and look into this. Make a business of it. Do not be in a hurry. Examine throughly the state of your hearts, and see where you are: whether you are walking with God every day, or with the devil; whether you are serving God or serving the devil most; whether you are under the dominion or the prince of darkness, or of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Charles Finney 4Description: Ingratitude. Take this sin and write down under that heading all the times you can remember where you have received favors from God and others for which you have never expressed gratitude or thankfulness. How many cases can you remember? Some remarkable change of events, that saved you from ruin. Write down the instances of God's goodness to you when you were in sin, before your conversion, for which you have never been half thankful enough; and the numerous mercies you have received since. How long the list of instances, where your ingratitude has been so black that you are forced to hide your face in confusion!
Charles Finney 5Description: Lack of love to God. Think how grieved and alarmed you would be if you discovered any lack of affection for you in your wife, husband, or children; if you saw another absorbing their hearts, and thoughts, and time. Perhaps in such a case you would nearly die with a just and virtuous jealousy. Now, God calls Himself a jealous God; and have you not given your heart to other loves and infinitely offended Him?
Charles Finney 6Description: Unbelief. Recall the instances in which you have virtually charged the God of truth with lying, by your unbelief of His express promises and declarations. God has promised to give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him. Now, have you believed this? Have you expected Him to answer? Have you not virtually said in your hearts, when you prayed for the Holy Spirit: "I do not believe that I shall receive"? If you have not believed nor expected to receive the blessing which God has expressly promised, you have charged Him with lying.
Charles Finney 7Description: The manner in which you have performed those duties. That is, with lack of feeling and lack of faith in a worldly frame of mind, so that your words were nothing but the mere chattering of a wretch who did not deserve that God should feel the least care for him. When you have fallen down upon your knees and "said your prayers" in such an unfeeling and careless manner that if you had been put under oath five minutes after, you could not have said for what you had been praying.
Charles Finney 8Description: Lack of love for the souls of your fellow-men. Look around upon your friends and relatives, and remember how little compassion you have felt for them. You have stood by and seen them going right to hell, and it seems as though you did not care if they did go. How many days have there been, in which you did not make their condition the subject of a single fervent prayer, or display a glowing and devoted desire for their salvation?
Charles Finney 9Description: Lack of care for the lost. Perhaps you have not cared enough for them to attempt to learn their condition; perhaps not even to take a missionary magazine. Look at this, and see how much you really care for the lost, and write down honestly the real amount of your feelings for them, and your desire for their salvation. Measure your desire for their salvation by the self-denial you practice, in giving of your substance to send them the Gospel. Do you deny yourself even the hurtful and unnecessary desires of life, such as tea, coffee, and tobacco? Do you cut back on your style of living, and hesitate not to deny yourself any inconvenience to save them? Do you daily pray for them in private? Are you putting money aside to put into the treasury of the Lord when you go up to pray? If you are not doing these things, and if your soul is not agonized for the poor benighted heathen, why are you such a hypocrite to pretend to be a Christian? Why saying you are a Christian is an insult to Jesus Christ!
Charles Finney and WifeDescription: Neglect of watchfulness over your own life. In how many instances you have hurried over your private duties, and have not been fully responsible in preforming your duties, nor honestly made up your accounts with God; how often have you entirely neglected to watch your conduct, and, having been off your guard, have sinned before the world, and before the Church, and before God!
Charles Finney crying out to God in the woodsDescription: Preachers should never satisfy themselves, or expect a revival, just by starting out of their slumbers, and blustering about, and talking to sinners. They must get their fallow ground broken up. It is utterly unphilosophical to think of getting engaged in religion in this way. If your fallow ground is broke up, then the way to get more feeling is to go out and see sinners on the road to hell, and talk to them, and guide inquiring souls, and you will get more feeling. You may get into an excitement without this breaking up; you may show a kind of zeal, but it will not last long, and it will not take hold of sinners, unless you hearts are broken up. The reason is, that you go about it mechanically, and have not broken up you fallow ground.
Charles Finney Portrait 1Description: Neglect to watch over your brethren. How often have you broken your covenant that you would watch over them in the Lord ! How little do you know or care about the state of their souls! And yet you are under a solemn oath to watch over them. What have you done to make yourself acquainted with them? In how many of them have you interested yourself to know their spiritual state? Go over the list, and wherever you find there has been a neglect, write it down. How many times have you seen your brethren growing cold in religion, and have not spoken to them about it? You have seen them beginning to neglect one duty after another, and you did not reprove them, in a brotherly way. You have seen them falling into sin, and you let them go on. And yet you pretend to love them. What a hypocrite I Would you see your wife or child going into disgrace, or into the fire, and hold your peace? No, you would not. What do you think of yourself, then, to pretend to love Christians, and to love Christ, while you can see them going into disgrace, and say nothing to them?
Charles Finney Portrait 2Description: Wordily mindedness. What has been the state of your heart in regard to your worldly possessions Have you looked at them as really yours-as if you had a right to dispose of them as your own, according to your own will? If you have, write that down. If you have loved property, and sought after it for its own sake, or to gratify lust or ambition, or a worldly spirit or to lay it up for your families, you have sinned, and must repent.
Charles Finney Portrait 3Description: Hypocrisy. For instance, in your prayers and confessions to God. Set down the instances in which you have prayed for things you did not really want. And the evidence is, that when you have done praying, you could not tell for what you had prayed. How many times have you confessed sins that you did not mean to break off and when you had no solemn purpose not to repeat them? Yes, have confessed sins when you knew you as much expected to go and repeat them, as you expected to live.
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