CHARLES G. FINNEY
December 19, 1855
Pres. Finney to the Readers of the Oberlin Evangelist.
DEAR BRETHREN AND SISTERS:--
The current year of the Oberlin Evangelist is about to close. Shall this paper be continued? Have you been profited by its perusal? We desire its continuance. Will it do you so much good that you can afford to do anything for its further circulation? Has it done you good already, and so much good that you desire to prolong its benefits to yourself and extend them to others? If so, what will you do? We are willing to do what we can: will you do what you can?
It has hitherto been a medium of communication between Oberlin and its friends: shall we break off this intercourse, or shall it be continued and extended? Are your neighbors made acquainted with the character of the paper? Have you taken much pains to make them acquainted with it, and will you take more?
We hope to make it more interesting and more useful; at least we intend to do what we can. Its object has been to promote spiritual religion. To this end we intend to devote it so long as it is continued. It is not a newspaper--is not the organ of any party or sect; it is not sectarian. Its simple aim is to promote vital godliness--to present and illustrate in the simplest manner the truths involved in Christian experience and implied in all practical godliness.
The general falling off in religious interest throughout the length and breadth of the land, and the absorption of the public mind by other considerations, render it not a little difficult to give to the Evangelist so much of the spice of Spiritual life as to keep awake in the souls of its readers the great idea which it intends to realize.
We should mourn to give it up, because it would sever a link that binds us to so many warm Christian hearts, or at least, would dry up the channel through which we love to pour our thoughts into the sympathizing hearts of the friends of Christ abroad. While there is spiritual vitality in us, we want you to sympathize with us. We want a medium through which we can show you our hearts, tell you our thoughts and encourage you to pray for us, and help us in our great work. This little sheet is dear to us, because, through it we can speak to you and tell you our wants, our trials, our views, our joys, and our sorrows. Brother Cowles will tell you what needs to be done and must be done to continue the paper, and especially to extend its circulation and its usefulness. And now, as the new year is just about to commence, let us hear from you in your renewed subscriptions and efforts to extend the circulation of the Evangelist. We need not commend it; you know what it is. If any of you have communications to make for its pages we shall be glad to hear from you. All we need to say or can say, is--that we desire the Evangelist to continue, not because it is pecuniarily profitable to us, but because its object is dear to us, and we have continued proof that it contributes towards securing this object.
When we have talked of giving it up it has saddened our hearts. Many of you have strongly objected to the thought of its being relinquished, and have said that a feeling of sadness would come over you did the mail no longer bring you this little sheet. We shall know whether you desire its continuance by your subscriptions, and by the efforts you will make to extend it, which we trust will be in time for the commencement of the new year. I hope the Editor will tell you just what is done, what needs to be done, what can be done, and how it can be done.
This is all I need to say on these points at present. If I can make it consist with my other duties, I have several subjects on which I wish to address you through the columns of the paper, in a series of letters.
Your Friend and Brother,
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