The Oberlin Evangelist

June 4, 1856

[From the Genesee Evangelist of May 8, 1856.]



After four months' of uninterrupted and faithful labor in our midst this veteran soldier of the cross took his leave of our city on Saturday last. He goes with the confidence and gratitude and love of all who have been engaged with him (under God) in the great and blessed work of grace of which mention has so frequently been made. Scores and hundreds who had been led by vague rumor to prejudice against him in one particular or another, are now numbered among his warmest friends. Many of the impenitent who began to hear him with a determination not to be influenced, even in so urgent a matter as the soul's salvation, by such a man, are now through his instrumentality rejoicing in Christ. It is very generally conceded that his whole course among us--his preaching--his measures--his personal intercourse--his freedom from self-exaltation--has been remarkably judicious. Most manifestly his aim has been not to push any peculiar kind of views or notions--not to vindicate himself at all from anything that had been said concerning him in the past--not to justify any belief, in which he may perhaps have erred in his younger days--but simply and solely to win men to Christ by presenting those truths of Scripture especially which call upon men to decide at once, and act at once, in obedience to God's own plain commands. He has not pretended to set forth a complete system of Bible doctrines: this could hardly be expected of an evangelist, but is supposed to be the work of the settled pastor previous to the special effort.

Mr. Finney's theology we are not attempting to discuss, but simply say that the object of the present effort, has been mainly to instruct men in the practical bearings of the doctrines they had already learned, and at the same time urge them to act--praying meanwhile for that influence and power of the Spirit without which all human effort is wholly in vain. And never have we witnessed a deeper and more entire reliance upon the Spirit's influence in answer to prayer than during this work. "Draw them--draw these souls to thyself," has been the oft repeated prayer of our brother Finney; and no one of the hundreds who have met to pray have thought of any other arm of strength than that of the Most High.

One thing which has contributed to the success of the work is the confidence which the impenitent (except perhaps some wounded Universalists,) have had in the deep personal piety of the preacher. If this has not always been so in the case of evangelists, it certainly has in a very eminent degree here. No one doubts that every sermon has come from a heart baptized with prayerful communion with God.

In making these few remarks, our object is not merely to compliment our brother, for whom we have the deepest respect and love; but to open the way more for his usefulness during the remnant of his life. As we value revivals--the keying up of lax spirituality--the conversion of souls--and through all these, the glory of God, we most sincerely wish that every city in the land might enjoy the same thing which we have enjoyed and are still enjoying.


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