The Oberlin Evangelist
August 15, 1860
Pres. Finney in England.
A small weekly sheet is published in London, called "The Revival"--"a weekly summary of events connected with the present revival of religion." It has nearly finished its second year. From this sheet we extract the following statements, under the head of "Manchester." They will show our readers how Pres. Finney and wife have been laboring during the spring months and early summer, and with what manifest tokens of blessing from the Lord.
We are especially interested to observe the same class of results there which we have so often known to attend Pres. Finney's labors in this country--great searchings of heart, a deep sense of sin, confessions, restitutions, and peace of mind only after thorough repentance, and then through faith in the blood of the Lamb. We could wish that the revivals of the past two years in this country had the same characteristics more generally and more deeply.
"After a three month's stay at Bolton, during which period hundreds were converted to God, the distinguished American evangelist, the Rev. C.G. Finney, and his devoted wife, were induced to visit Manchester. They were invited by a few ministers who had long lamented the coldness and deadness of the churches, the comparative rarity of conversions, and the vast numbers of non-worshippers around, and who had earnestly prayed for a general and genuine Revival.
Mr. and Mrs. Finney began their labors at the latter end of last April. Since that time Mr. Finney has preached twice on the Sabbath, and four times during the week. Mrs. Finney has held meetings five times a week, for females exclusively, has addressed "mothers" every Thursday, and unmarried females every Friday afternoon.
The season has, in some respects, been very unfavorable to revival work. Trade has been brisk. The working and middle classes have been employed until a late hour. Many of the higher classes are out of town. Above all, Whitsuntide, with its peculiar associations in Manchester, as a season of Sunday-school festivity, has beer, a sad drawback; yet, in spite of all hindrances, much good has been done; and seeds are sown every day, which will spring forth and bear much fruit.
Mr. Finney is well known in America and England. His preaching is marked by strong peculiarities. It is highly argumentative--keenly logical--yet, being composed of good strong Saxon, is intelligible to the common people. Boldness, verging to severity, is one of its characteristics. Unpalatable truths are urged with a fearless courage. Human responsibility and the obligation of every one to repent and believe the gospel are handled with a master's grasp. Professors are not suffered to hide beneath the covert of mere formalism, or an orthodox creed. Masks, pretexts, subterfuges of all sorts, are exposed; and the selfish, the worldly, the cowardly, the inconsistent, are driven from their retreats. Then comes the gospel, with its full and free antidote to despair; its gracious invitations to the penitent; its pardon and peace for the believing. Mr. F. is sixty-eight years of age, and has been a laborious worker in the cause of God forty years; yet he preaches with wonderful energy six times every week, and after every service holds meetings for anxious inquirers. The meetings for inquiry have been attended variably as to numbers; but, altogether, some hundreds of anxious souls have been gathered on these occasions. Many striking instances of conversion have occurred. Many backsliders have been reclaimed. Many professors have been quickened with new life. Selection is difficult. A respectable man and his wife, sitting near each other one evening, were almost at the same moment melted down into penitence. That night the husband prayed really for the first time for many years; and they have both continued to manifest the sincerity of their repentance and faith in Christ. A man who, for twenty years, never entered a place of worship, who has been an awful drunkard, and given up as hopeless by his friends, was converted to God last week; and his family can hardly believe their own eyes when they witness the change that has taken place in him. The writer noticed this man the other evening listening attentively to the truth of the gospel, while his face was wet with tears. A large number of the inquirers are men. One, who has been a Roman Catholic, and who came into chapel in his working clothes, was convinced and converted to God. The joy and gladness expressed by all who have yielded themselves to Christ are wonderful to see. Rich and poor are all alike proving the power of truth. Cases of restitution are not uncommon. Merchants, tradesmen, servants who have robbed employers, have confessed and restored what they had dishonestly obtained. Nor are children wanting to complete the picture. Two little boys, last evening, were among the lingering inquirers; and, after manifesting the deep emotion, yielded themselves to Christ. Those two lads will never forget till their dying day the prayer which the venerable man of God, in simple, touching, melting words, offered on their behalf, as he knelt at their side and commended them to the care of Jesus.
Mrs. Finney's meetings have also produced a considerable effect. They have had a salutary and blessed influence on many a wife and mother: many have been stirred up to pray for themselves; and their husbands and their children have seen, in several instances already, the answer to their prayers. The work is thus going on. If ministers and people will only co-operate, throwing aside sectarian prejudice, the Revival will spread, and glorious triumphs of the gospel will be seen "not many days hence."
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