SERMON BY CHARLES FINNEY
TEXT.--Behold, all ye that kindle a fire, that compass yourselves about with sparks: walk in the light of your fire, and in the sparks that ye have kindled. This shall ye have of my hand; ye shall lie down in sorrow.--Isaiah 50.11.*
IT is evident, from the connection of these words in the chapter, that the prophet was addressing those who professed to be religious, and who flattered themselves that they were in a state of salvation, but in fact their hope was a fire of their own kindling, and sparks created by themselves. Before I proceed to discuss the subject, let me say, that as I have given notice that it was my intention to discuss the nature of true and false conversion, it will be of no use but to those who will be honest in applying it to themselves. If you mean to profit by the discourse, you must resolve to make a faithful application of it to yourselves--just as honest as if you thought you were now going to the solemn judgment. If you will do this, I may hope to be able to lead you to discover your true state, and if you are now deceived, direct you in the true path to salvation. If you will not do this, I shall preach in vain, and you will hear in vain.
I design to show the difference between true and false conversion, and shall take up the subject in the following order:
I. Show that the natural state of man is a state of pure selfishness.
II. Show that the character of the converted is that of benevolence.
III. That the New Birth consists in a change from selfishness to benevolence.
IV. Point out some things wherein saints and sinners, or true and spurious converts, may agree, and some things in which they differ. And,
V. Answer some objections that may be offered against the view I have taken, and conclude with some remarks.