CHARLES G. FINNEY
March 31, 1852
The Revival in Hartford, Conn.
The New York Independent for March 11th, has an interesting account of this revival which has been for several weeks in progress under the joint labors of Pres. Finney and the several pastors here. Pres. F. has labored in that city some more than two months, commencing his labors against the retarding and counteracting influence of various obstacles, yet surmounting them, until the revival influence became general in the large churches under the pastoral care of Rev. Messrs. Patton, Bushness and Hawes. The writer in the Independent narrates at some length the difficulties alluded to, but our limits forbid our doing so. His account of the preaching of Mr. F. and of the precious results of his labors we copy entire, assured that our readers will find in it ample matter of interest and occasion for thanksgiving to God.
"The preaching has been practical and doctrinal, and amazingly close, pungent and thorough, tending to 'break up the fallow ground.' Mr. F. has nothing of the nature of wildfire and fanaticism in his preaching or measures. He addresses himself with remarkable singleness to the intellect, rousing the conscience and pressing the will, but appealing scarcely at all to the sensibility. Not a few heard him at first with little or no interest, owing to the length of his discourses, the lack of polish in his style, the colloquiality of his preaching, which is extemporaneous, and the somewhat dry manner in which he commences and often continues for the first half-hour; but in proportion as they repeated their attendance were they favorably impressed, and particularly so, when their minds were aroused to consider simply the truth which was uttered, and which was brought forth with a clearness and cogency seldom equaled, and an instructiveness to clergy and laity which will not soon be forgotten.
"With reference to results, I would first allude, with gratitude to God, to the union and fellowship which has been to a good degree restored among the ministers and churches which have engaged in the work. If nothing else had been accomplished, this would alone repay the outlay of time and power. There is reason to believe that a work of permanent good has been done in this respect, and that hereafter we shall all be found standing side by side in the belief and defense of evangelical doctrine, and the practice of that genuine piety whose essence is love. As the next result, I would advert to the conversions among church members. These have seemingly been not a few. Mr. F. has preached so pure a gospel and held up so high a standard, that many self-deceived professors have renounced their hopes and gone into the inquiry-meetings and there found Christ in reality; while true Christians have been deeply searched, greatly humbled and clearly brought out into a new state of advanced spirituality. It is true, however, that a very large portion of the church-members have not been reached, partially from prejudices and similar causes, and partially from the fact that the meetings have been held in three different churches, so that the congregations have not been composed of the same persons and no one church has been continuously acted upon. As to the results among the impenitent it is impossible to speak with certainty. There has been no attempt to count converts, of whom there are probably many. Sometimes, particularly on Sabbath evenings, as many as four hundred have gone into the inquiry meeting, even when the invitation has been guarded. A few of the middle-aged have been reached, but the overwhelming mass of the inquirers are the young from fifteen to twenty-five, of whom a nobler company in appearance cannot be found on the fact of the globe. Female prayer meetings have been largely attended, in connection with which, as also otherwise, Mrs. F's labors have been invaluable. That this work may be permanent in its effects is both the prayer and hope of many who long for something more abiding in the churches.
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