To Rebecca Rayl

22 September 1865


[MS in possession of Dr. Richard Rayle of Miami University, Oxford, Ohio]


Oberlin, Friday morning,

22 Sept. 1865.

My Darling Mrs. Rayl,

Last evening I recd yours of

the 20th & 21, & afterwards Mrs. H.

sent me the notes enclosed in yours

to her. These were the first I had

heard from you. We must, & I trust

we do keep, the will of God as

thus far revealed. We have prayed

for guidance & must follow providen

tial leadings. This interference

with our plans indicates that

God wants us to be more delib

erate. God may see that we have

been unwise & may intend to

corect us in time. Would not

our marriage at the time proposed

have the appearance of frustrating

Providential leading & forcing our

way hastily against the indications

of his will. I fear it might have this

[page 2]

appearance. My impression is my

Dearest one, that we should quietly

wait until our way is clear.

Mrs. Henderson has just been in &

thinks that I had better go out &


see you ^ Monday. I fear that this

will create too much excitement for

Dear sick Julia. Still perhaps it

would be more satisfactory to you

if I should come. I might come &

if I come shall come alone. When

I hear your reasons for not wishing

delay I may think with you that

we should be married then & there.

I can not think of taking you away

from your sick child even for an hour,

I should wish to bring you home for a

night & send you back the next day.

I can marry & leave you quietly with

your daughter until Providence gives

you leave to come home, if this course

is best. Mrs Henderson has been to consult

Mrs [? ], & Mrs [? ] has been to see

[page 3]

Mrs. Henderson & Mrs [? ] feels troubled.

These ladies all think that we

should not delay our marriage.

It almost looks as if they distrusted

Providence & fear to have any

delay lest we should come to the

conclusion that our marriage ought

not take place at all. I do

not like this view of the subject.

There must be no self will & no running

across the leadings of providence in

this matter. In this you & I are

agreed, & our friends must not

overrule us in this respect. Surely

this providence means something.

It has a voice. There is a lesson in

it. I am made to fear the influence

of your lady friends more than ever

by their disregard of this voice of

providence. I told Mrs. Henderson this

morning that I had been fearing her

influence on you & had overlooked

the influence that she was exerting

[page 4]

over me to urge me on to make

you my wife. I fear we shall not

entirely respect ourselves if we are

carried against what ought to be

our convictions in view of the plain

indications of Providence. God will

lead us if we will allow Him to do

so. We must see our own way clear

however & not walk in the light

or according to the impressions of

others. It will no doubt be useful to

us to remain apart for some weeks

& let our feelings become more adjus

ted to our judgments. It is plainly

a part of God's plan that you should

be away from me & from those friends who

have been working upon your feelings.

As we are now situated we can, after

a few weeks, better understand ourselves.

If we remain of the same mind after

this providential separation we can go

forward with more confidence. But if a few

weeks of separation from each other & from our

advisers we find our feelings & views different

we can defer the matter & avoid an ill advised

union. Thus I read this Providence.

[page 5]


But I hope to hear from you again

to day & tomorrow, & the intelligence

may settle the question.

I should have written you before,

but from the fact that I did not

hear from you, I hoped that you


would be ^ at home ere this time.

I hope this letter will not pain

you. I trust we see & read this

providence alike. We both desire

to know the will of God concerning

this solemn matter. We have to act

with such deliberation as not to reproach

ourselves with folly & selfishness.

As you say our "conclusion really

concluded nothing" & again we are

compelled to wait for fur further

indications of the Divine will.

God bless you My Precious one. I

do not forget you, nor Dear Julia.

I can detain this until the western

mail arrives before I mail it. I may

receive a letter from you that will

decide me in regard to going out to

see you on monday. No. I have a

[page 6]

business church meeting that will

prevent my getting a letter from you

& mailing this afterwards. I must

send this & write again to morrow

D. V. This view of the subject that I

have taken will not trouble us if

we are in a right state of mind

in respect to accepting the will

of God. When we fear to wait

& study the indications of his will

something is not right. God will sure

ly lead on in the right way. I

think that we both greatly need

release, for a season, from those

outward influences that have been

bearing so heavily upon us.

This necessary delay & separation

is in answer to prayer.

I hope to hear that Julia is better.

God bless you Darling

for ever more,

C. G. Finney.



Finney appears to have originally started to write another word here, but crossed it out and inserted on, then added Monday.

These names are not legible.