To Jacob Helffenstein

18 November 1873


[Ms in the Finney Papers, Box 9, in the handwriting of Rebecca Rayl Finney.]


Oberlin Nov. 18th 1873

My Dear Brother Helfenstein,

Have I indeed

received a letter from you? One informing me,

that you are not only alive yourself, but that

your dear precious wife, whom I loved so

dearly in the Lord, is also alive? I have often

thought of you both, but did not know whether

you were in this, or in the heavenly world. Did

you see that article to which you allude,

in the Independent, or was it copied into

some other paper? I have written another

article to the Independent, on "the causes of

the decay of the individual and public

conscience". If they publish it, and you

take the paper, you will see how fully

I accord, with the views expressed in

your letter. You did not tell me your

age, nor that of your dear wife, which

I should greatly like to know. I am

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in my eighty second year. I preach only

occasionally now, but when I do preach, I am

grateful to say, that the Lord manifestly

puts his seal to the word. My health

is quite comfortable, if I do not

overdo. But I am apt to go beyond

my strength, and bring on a nervous

prostration. You can judge somewhat

from my writing, how my mind

works. Of course I am not what

I used to be. On account of the dimness

of my sight, I use the hand of my dear

wife, to write the most of my letters.

In reference to the revivals to which

you allude, of our early days, I can

truly say, that although I have labored

in revivals ever since, I have never

seen, read, or heard of, revivals

in any age of the church, more pure,

powerful, and in every way desirable,

than those of that period. Because

of what Drs Beecher & Nettleton said

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about them, it has come to be common

to speak of them as revivals to be sure,

but as having been mixed up with a

great deal of human infirmity and

mistake. This, in the sense in which it

is intended by those who speak of them,

I utterly deny. From the history of the

revivals in the days of the Apostles,

as given by themselves, I am fully convinced

that those revivals were by no means, as

pure and permanent in their results

as were those against which Dr Beecher

and Mr. Nettleton made such opposition

Indeed it was not to be expected, that

revivals among ignorant heathen, should

be as pure and permanent as they should

be expected to be, in the present day.

But of late, I fear that defective in-

struction is letting down the tone of

revivals, and that there is to be a

very disastrous reaction. Ministers

are striving to preach the gospel without the

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law, and hence the true significance

of the gospel is not understood.

My Dear Brother, you cannot realize

perhaps, how much I am rejoiced

to receive this letter from you! God

Bless You, My Dear Brother and

Sister! We are almost through,

and shall soon meet, to part no

more. I should be most delighted

to see you, and your dear wife

and confer with you, of the past &

future, of the blessed Zion of

God. What do you think of the

course of Henry Ward Beecher?

Is he not doing more harm than

good? And will not the Lord be

obliged to rebuke him? If it will

suit your convenience, pray write

again. God Bless You and Your

dear wife, Forevermore!

C. G. Finney

by Mrs. Finney


Endorsed at the top of page 1:


Last letter - He died soon after.