CHARLES G. FINNEY
January 1, 1851
Prof. Finney in London.
Our readers will rejoice that Mr. Finney is able to resume his labors in London; that a wide and still widening door is open before him both there and elsewhere; that the results of his past labors allay the honest fears and rebuke the theological antagonisms against which he has had to contend; and that he finds in England men both good and great who know how to judge of him both as a preacher and as a theologian.
We are pleased to see such prominence given to the necessity and duty of prayer on the part of Christians, for the Divine blessing on his labors. May those suggestions, though made for London Christians, be received by all our Christian readers as meaning themselves also.
We copy from the British Banner of November 20 --editorial.
Rev. C.G. Finney.
We are now in a condition to make a communication which will cheer the hearts of thousands in this great metropolis.
The Rev. C.G. Finney will resume his labors at the Tabernacle next Lord's-day week, first of December.
Mr. Finney's first visit was one which multitudes of souls will have cause, through eternity, to remember. The impulse he was then the instrument of communicating has continued with but little perceptible abatement up to this hour: but we look for a vast increase of blessing in the course of his next visit. He comes now, not as a stranger, but as a friend, well known and much loved,--as a man of God, who has been signally honored both in this and in other lands to promote His glory, through the salvation of men. The Church and congregation at the Tabernacle are now fully prepared to receive him in a right spirit; and not only they, but a large portion of the Christian public in this great city, who will, as before, sustain him by their prayers, and, we doubt not, in greatly augmented numbers, lay themselves out to send or bring thoughtless persons to hear his word, both at his week-day and sabbatic ministrations--ministrations which, we trust, will still more conduce to pull down the strong-holds of sin, and to awaken souls from their sleep of death.
During the course of Mr. Finney's labors on the last occasion, we had ample proof that he was owned of God in a very high degree; but time was required to subject the matter to the test of experience; that time has, in a measure, come, and the result has served to show that the most sanguine expectations have been more than realized, and it cheers us to say that there is no appearance of the work drawing to a speedy close. The stream of inquiry still flows on in a manner the most delightful. On the Tuesday evenings of every week, the amount of inquiry and of application for fellowship is such that the Pastor and Mr. Cornwall have never yet been able to overtake it.
Many places have competed for the services of Mr. Finney during the few remaining months of his sojourn in Europe, but all things considered, he has determined to give the preference to the Tabernacle, where he will have such scope as no other place can supply, and where the people are thoroughly prepared to co operate with him, holding up his hands by prayer, and furthering his efforts by individual and associated labor. In that ancient House he will, moreover, be in effect the preacher, not merely of a congregation, but of the city, since his voice will sound forth far and wide throughout this mighty Metropolis, and reach multitudes of occasional hearers, besides those who constitute the regular congregation. May we ask the prayers of those who have a vision strong enough to look beyond the small enclosure of individual folds, and even of sects and parties, that he may "come in the fulness of the blessing of the Gospel of Christ."
We observe in our highly respected contemporary, the Puritan Recorder, an elaborate criticism on our two last articles concerning Mr. Finney. Still his sturdy opponents do not deny "that, 'when he commenced his career, he was received as the great power of God.' Many questioned as many do now in England; but throughout New England and the Middle and Western States he was very generally received, both by Congregationalists and Presbyterians. Whitefield scarcely created a greater movement than he. Wherever he preached he was followed by immense throngs; seeming conversions were multiplied, and doubtless, many real conversions occurred." Our contemporary states, that he had not then broached his heresies of "perfectionism;" that opinion is greatly changed now; and that many of those pulpits would not admit him; adding, "The reason of his exclusion would be found more in the practical results of his preaching than the doctrines which he avows." Now this is remarkably curious to us, men of the Old World, since we had thought that doctrines determined results--that where the results were good, the doctrines could scarcely be bad, and that at any rate, the results can never be worse than the doctrines. For our own part, we can only speak of the doctrines he has preached in London. We can, moreover, testify that the results and doctrines have entirely corresponded;--that what we consider his crotchets and exceptionable modes of expression, or positively inaccurate views--as we deem them--have as yet produced no results, nor do we think they are ever likely to produce any; whereas the doctrines of the great salvation, as by him proclaimed, have proved both the power of God and the wisdom of God to many souls. How long will it be till wise and good men learn the lesson that God thus teaches them, that it is possible to entertain so inordinate an attachment to speculative accuracy, as to blind them to the fact that a ministration defective in this respect may yet so possess the attributes of simplicity of motive, and spirituality of character, as to obtain an extraordinary measure of the Divine blessing, and, for salvation purposes, incalculably surpass a more accurate doctrinal manifestation, divested of those attributes.
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