The Oberlin Evangelist

September 11, 1850


Prof. Finney's Labors in London

The British Banner of August 14, speaks of Prof. Finney's "gigantic labors in the Tabernacle (London) as now drawing to a close;" of the "interest excited by his labors as continuing unabated;" "the chapel, the last Sabbath evening gorged to overflowing"--not less than one thousand, after a sermon of one hour and a half retired to another room for special instruction; sixty had expressed a desire to join the church, and twice this number are supposed to be waiting for such an opportunity--to say nothing of many convicted but yet without peace in the gospel; and many more who have been only occasional hearers, but who have yet been greatly blessed by these ministrations.

Appended to the above and similar statements is a further description of Prof. Finney's labors in London--which we extract entire.


"A word as to the movement itself; nothing can be more simple, rational or scriptural than the course which has been pursued. There is no mystery, and very little system about it. It amounts to very little more than the ordinary means, greatly augmented in force and measure. These means have had to do with the church nearly as much as with the world: Jerusalem has been searched as with candles. There has been a continued and an intense effort to rouse the church to a sense of its duty to the perishing; and Mr. Finney contends, that a very large portion of that duty consists in prayer; while that prayer, to be effectual, requires that it proceed from hearts in full sympathy with God and with Christ. It must be compassionate, fervent and believing; and, in addition to prayer, there must be labor, by every man teaching his neighbor, and every man his brother, to know the Lord, and an endeavor to bring them under the means of instruction and conversion. These are the matters which concern the Church. But not less simple is the affair as it relates to the world.

"The law has been pressed home in all the length and breadth of its claims, and in all the severity of its most spiritual obligations. The subject of man's responsibility has been pressed home with most unsparing fidelity, and often with the utmost force of human instrumentality. Of man's inability little has been said, and as little of the necessity of supernatural power to work either disposition or will on the part of the sinner. The mode of dealing with men in this matter has been in exact conformity with Apostolic practice as set forth in the Acts--a thing less common than might at first be supposed. His ministry has, upon the whole, been a mixture of that of John the Baptist, Simon Peter, James and Jude, rather than of Paul or John, in addressing "the world," although, in dealing with the church, the two latter have often been his model--a fact which was strikingly exemplified on the two last Lord's-day mornings, and frequently upon week nights. All things considered, the means have been strikingly adapted to the end, and they have obviously received the stamp of the Divine approbation. The Spirit of the Lord is free; He works by whom He will work; but they who are the objects of his choice and favor for special work, are always found to possess a special character--a character wrought by his own hand. The case before us forms no exception to the rule, but, on the contrary, emphatically confirms it. The preacher, from the first hour to the last, during these four months, has been the same man--simple, single-minded, ardent, laborious and persevering. Seldom, we presume, has any man stood to an object with more honesty of purpose, or with more entire consecration, and hence the mighty hold he has taken upon the mind of the multitude. We allow for peculiarity, for novelty, for foreign residence, for great talents, and other circumstances; but, when every allowance has been made, there is much for which nothing can account but the possession of great personal adaptation, intellectual, moral, and spiritual, and a large measure of Divine approbation."

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