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History Column

Growth in Grace

Dr. Ch.Finney

15. Growing in grace raises a person more and more above the world. The growing saint regards less and less either the good or ill opinions of men. He feels that it is of little importance, only as it may affect his usefulness. I do not mean by this, that a person should have a proud contempt for the opinions of his fellow men. He may feel and manifest this, and instead of having more evidence of weanedness from the world, he will have evidence of his consummate pride. But if a person is growing in grace, only let him see his DUTY, and he will not turn aside although public opinion should be all against him. He will not do, or omit to do, any thing, but from a regard to the glory of God. The frowns or the flatteries of the world will not be taken into account when he sees his duty. It is amazing to see how much of what appears to be religion, is, after all, a mere obsequious yielding to public opinion, instead of yielding obedience to God. Public opinion requires that those who have made a profession of religion should do so and so, and therefore they do so.


This is a highly important subject to young converts, that they should know how it is done.

1. They should watch. They should watch against their besetting sins.

1) Levity. I need not enlarge on this any farther than to say that it is the besetting sin of many persons, and unless they place a tenfold watch at the door of their lips, they will never grow in grace. Once yielding to a spirit of levity, may grieve the spirit and put out your light for a day, and giving way once, but makes way for a repetition, so that unless you begin with decision and continue with great prayer and watchings, to keep down the spirit of levity, you are undone.

2) Censoriousness. Young converts are particularly in danger of this. They enter upon religion full of ardor, and they are soon amazed at the coldness and apathy of old professors. And they have room to be amazed. Heaven and earth are amazed at the manner in which old professors lay stumbling blocks before young converts. And it is no wonder that young converts, when they see such things, should imagine, in the warmth of their feeling, that such professors have no religion. And so they are liable to say hard and censorious things. But they ought to learn carefully to distinguish between the deep principles of ripe Christians, and the lively feelings of young converts. If they keep this in mind, they will not be so likely to misjudge. And whatever may be their sober judgment about the state of others, young converts ought to be very careful what they say of them. Don’t keep talking about the faults of others. Do not speak censoriously of any. If you do, you will grieve away the Holy Spirit, and you will not grow in grace.

3) Anger. How many Christians are injured by letting their temper rise? If they are women, they fret at their servants. Men fret at their clerks, or at those who are in their employ, or they get angry with the government, or with their neighbors, go to finding fault in some way or other, that shows they do not watch their temper. How can they grow in grace?

4) Pride. Guard against pride and vanity in all their forms. Be very careful never to purchase any article of dress, or furniture, or anything calculated to foster vanity in your mind. Woman, you are going to buy a bonnet, be careful not to get one that will make you think of it when you wear it. Also! How much pain some people take to foster their own bad passions. The devil might go to sleep, in regard to some Christians; he has no need to lie in wait to tempt them, they tempt themselves, they are doing the very things that are calculated to puff them up with pride. Such foolishness is enough to make them ridicule of Satan. Young females, young men, be careful, watch against this. In how many places has this been the history. During the winter a revival, many converted, all engaged; spring comes, and somebody sets them all agog from some new fashion, and then where are your prayer-meetings? Here are these young converts taken in the snare, and all gone off to worship the goddess of fashion. I mean that by degrees the young ladies and others are drawn off from conversation and thinking upon religion, to conversing and thinking of something new in dress or equipment, or some vain thing that eats up their spirituality, and leaves them in great darkness.

(To be continued)