The GOSPEL TRUTH
CHARLES G. FINNEY
To John Frost
18 April 1827
[Extract copied in a letter from John Frost, George W. Gale, Noah Coe, and S. C. Aikin to Asahel Nettleton, dated Utica, May 7, 1827, published in the New-York Observer and reprinted in The Religious Intelligencer, 12 (New Haven: 5 January 1828), p. 499.]
Now what we complain of, and what Br. F. complains of is, that this letter should still be circulated to his injury, and to the injury of those ministers who countenance him. The following extracts from Br. F.'s letter will show you what his feelings are. It is dated, New-Lebanon, April 18. 1827.
"My principal design in writing to you is, to ask your advice, and through you the advice of our brethren in that region. Brother N. seems resolved to hedge me in by circulating his letters. A copy of his letter to Br. Aikin has, as you know, been sent to Boston, and "highly approved." That same letter, I have no doubt, is designed to be made use of against me wherever I go. I have learned this week that a copy of that letter has been sent to Richmond, an adjoining town, and indeed, I am persuaded that copies of it are all around me, and designed to hedge me in. From Richmond, several of the leading men have been over to hear me preach, and insist on my going there, but their minister don't come near me; of course, I shall not go. I have not said to any of the members of the adjacent churches why I would not go, lest it should create dissatisfaction between them and their ministers. What shall be done? You know the strange charges brought against me in that letter. These things circulated under the high sanction of Brother N.'s name, and uncontradicted publicly, have a dreadful influence. Notwithstanding they have been contradicted and explained to Br. N. still they are made use of in this underhanded manner. The public are completely in the dark on this subject. They suppose that Br. N. and I have had a controversy; have disagreed; that I have proved incorrigible; and that that holy man is driven to the painful necessity of taking this course to preserve the church from ruin. Now, what is to be done? I want nothing done so far as I am personally concerned, but would rather leave it to the Judgment. But the cause of Christ, I think, demands that something should be done. But let every thing be done with prayer, and be sure that we take no step until we can proceed in the true spirit of the Gospel, and not to injure a hair of any man's head unnecessarily; nor to say one word that is unkind or unchristian. I think we ought to see or write to Br. N. before we publish his letter, and try to obtain his consent. And perhaps if we ask him he will publish it himself."
[Extract copied in a letter from John Frost to Lyman Beecher, dated Whitesboro, April 30, 1827, published in the New-York Observer, 6 (9 February 1828), p. 21.]
I have recently received another letter from him, dated New Lebanon, April 18th. [Here follow the same extracts from Mr. Finney's letter which are already published in our joint letter, with the following addition.] "Perhaps I am wrong in thinking that any thing of this nature should be done. I judge from the influence that I see and feel around me, and I know that the further I go from this County, unless I return back where I am known, the worse this influence will be. That that false and mysterious assertion in Br. N's letter about the manner in which I get into the churches of ministers, and make a party against them, and crush or denounce them, &c. should still be circulated uncontradicted to frighten and wrong ministers into whose neighborhoods I happen to come, is, I think, a pity."