CHARLES G. FINNEY
January 19, 1853
All our readers will be happy to hear from President Finney, and to learn what reception he meets with, and what results attend his labors. Hence we take entire from the western Recorder of Syracuse, the following, which appears as editorial, under date, December 30, 1852.
The Recorder has long been in sympathy with the New School Presbyterian body, has seemed to us to be conducted with an excellent spirit, although more conservative than our standard, and has never been regarded as any way partial in favor of President Finney.
We make these criticisms only to enable the reader to estimate what follows.--[Ed.]
This distinguished preacher has been laboring, mostly in the Congregational Church, in this city, for about four weeks. It may be expected, and we think it altogether proper that we advert to the character and apparent results of his labors. This, however, we feel hardly prepared to do at present. The length of time which he has preached, for the most part four evenings in the week, besides two or three sermons on the Sabbath, would seem to be sufficient to afford ground of judgment as to the adaptedness of his labors to do good. Once there would have been no hesitancy on the part of the community at large, to pronounce for and against him, as individuals would view and judge of his proceedings. But times have changed and we think it will be generally conceded that Mr. Finney has changed with them. --Now there seems to be less precipitancy of decision than would have once been exhibited on the occasion of his visiting a place with the special view of laboring as a revivalist. By this we do not mean that he lacks very warm friends in his present labors, but that they do not point to visible results, as once his friend were accustomed to do, and claim that God was undeniably converting sinners by his instrumentality. We mean also, that, as a general fact, there is not only no opposition to his labors, on the part of either professed christians, or the world, but rather an approbation and favor on all hands. A few have been cautious in welcoming him amongst us, but the fact is just about as we have stated. We do not know of the first word or measure of opposition to his labors as he has bestowed them.
But the important point in which we shall be expected to say a word, is the apparent success of his labors. We have no hesitancy in saying that they are every way desirable and hopeful, and in saying this, we speak from a judgment and feeling on revival measures, resulting from not a little knowledge of the labors of Dr. Nettleson, thirty years ago, our own pastoral experience, and the undoubted sentiment of the Presbyterian Churches for the last ten years. We are decidedly of the opinion that Mr. Finney's present labors are of a character that the best men of former and of present times would approve of, as scriptural, discreet and appropriate. We have used the word "results," and have said they are desirable and hopeful. The ground of this opinion is, that they are less obtruded upon public regard, than has been the case sometimes. No conversions are published, though there is reason to believe that a good work has been done in the hearts of both Christians and the unconverted. The meetings are well attended and great solemnity prevails under his exhibitions of divine truth. Prayer-meetings on each weekday afternoon, at 2 o'clock, are well attended, and the different churches are represented in them.
We have said much more than we intended to say when we began, drawn on by the fact, that, in the judgment of the oldest and 'best' men of our acquaintance here, a very hopeful state of religious interest has gradually grown up in our city in connection with Mr. Finney's labors. We wish to second the good influence by our instrumentality, and to induce a still fuller attendance on this means of grace in the hope of a wide-spread and glorious outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon our community.
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