THE

CENTRAL IDEA

OF

CHRISTIANITY

_________________________

REVISED EDITION
_________________________

Jesse T. Peck


By JESSE T. PECK, D.D.
One of the Bishops of the Methodist Episcopal Church





NEW YORK:
NELSON & PHILLIPS.
CINCINATTI:
HITCHCOCK & WALDEN.

1876






PUBLISHER’S NOTICE.

This book has been before the Church some twenty years. When first issued, it received the prompt endorsement of the best minds of the Church — including several Bishops and Editors of our periodicals — official and unofficial. It has passed through many editions, and been extensively read in the United States and Canada, and, by common consent, taken the position of a standard work.

Finding that another edition was called for, we purchased the book; and we now feel sincere pleasure in presenting it to the Christian public, enlarged and thoroughly revised by the author.

NELSON & PHILLIPS,
805 Broadway, New York.





Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1875, by NELSON & PHILLIPS.


CONTENTS.



CHAPTER I.
THE CENTRAL IDEA ASCERTAINED.


  1. — The Scripture Argument.
  2. — The Analytical Argument.
  3. — The Historical Argument.
  4. — The Experimental Argument.
  5. — The Argument Applied.



CHAPTER II.
THE CENTRAL IDEA DEFINED.


  1. — The Limitations of the Idea.
  2. — The Contents of the Idea.
  3. — Difficulties Considered.



CHAPTER III.
THE CENTRAL IDEA NEGLECTED.


I.— The Fact Shown.
  • First — The state of individuals
  • Second — The great present want of the Church
II.— The Fact Accounted for
  • First — Not by want of time but of attention
  • Second — Want of special prayer and conviction
III. — The Fact Depreciated
  • First — Consequences to neglecters
  • Second — Consequences to the Church



CHAPTER IV.
THE CENTRAL IDEA IN ITS CLAIMS.


I.— It is Desirable to be Holy
  • First — Shown from the nature and effects of sin
  • Second — From the nature and results of holiness
II.— It is possible to be Holy
  • First — Shown to be rational by a priori considerations
  • Second — From Scripture
III.— It is necessary to be Holy
  • First — Shown from the end of man's creation, and the nature of God
  • Second — From the nature of law and the mission of the Church




CHAPTER V.
THE CENTRAL IDEA IN ITS COUNCELS.


  1. Conviction Produced
  2. Resolution Formed
  3. Feeling Necessary
  4. Confession Required
  5. Consecration Made
  6. Faith Exercised
  7. Prayer Offered
  8. Evidence Received
  9. Responsibility Taken



CHAPTER VI.
THE CENTRAL IDEA IN ITS APPEALS.


I.— To Professors of Perfect Love.
  • First — Trials await you.
  • Second — Holiness must not be taken out of its proper connections
  • Third — Beware of schism
  • Fourth — This sacred profession must be vindicated
II.— To the General Church
III.— To the Leaders of the Church
IV.— To the Christian Ministry



SUPPLEMENTARY REVIEW.





PREFACE
__________________


A VOLUME of the author's published and unpublished writings on the Central Idea of Christianity has been frequently and urgently called for; and after mature consideration, he does not feel at liberty longer to withhold it.

He has written, and ventured to approach the public through various periodicals, upon different branches of this subject, at intervals, during the last eight or ten years. His discussions and appeals have been designed to meet, some pressing emergency, to aid in correcting some serious evil, and, so far as practicable, contribute to the healthy spiritual growth of the Church.

He was, at length, quite surprised to find that, in this irregular way, he was really writing a book. Some of his friends noticed this, and urged him to give it permanent form; intimating, indeed, in the event of his refusal an idea of doing it for him. He thought it much better to be his own editor, especially as important portions of the discussion were in the form of unpublished manuscript; and other connecting links, absolutely indispensable, must be prepared with caution, and special adaptation to a general plan.

The work needs no further introduction, excepting to remind the reader that, in a book written in this manner, the same idea will inevitably recur, in different special themes, and the consistency and unity of the whole will be, hence, less perfect. But, in such a discussion as we here venture to present, we regard this as an advantage rather than a blemish. While the work includes a finished system, each section is complete in itself; and, if the reader has not time to examine the volume consecutively, he will find any part of it intelligible alone. Any repetitions, not conveniently avoidable in this method of writing, will only have the effect to place some important practical thought in various aspects and relations, and thus increase the probability of permanent and useful impressions.

This effort to present to the Church a thoroughly scriptural and practical view of the Central Idea of Christianity, is humbly and prayerfully committed to God for his providential care and blessing, and to Christians of all denommations, for their candid examination, in view of the judgment of the great day. May it, then, appear that some valuable purpose has been promoted by the humble labors of

THE AUTHOR.