The GOSPEL TRUTH
CHARLES G. FINNEY
To Henry Cowles
8 February 1847
[MS in Oberlin College Archives, 30/27]
Pontiac 8. Feb. 1847.
Dear Br. Cowles.
I recd your communication on saturday last & delay
not to answer. I suppose the salary of Br. Allen should not
be less than $.500. in all. I have no sympathy with the spirit
that denies, in theory or practice, that the laborer is worthy of his
hire. If the Institution cant afford to give Br. Allen $.400 he
ought not to come. If the professors can not be paid, let the
enterprize be given up. But with an efficient agency they
can be paid. Br. Allen's influence is good & our musical
department is of great importance. I am for continuing him
by all means.
I came here with great reluctance, after spending a week
at Detroit. The interest there became such that I never left
a place with so much reluctance. But I had suffered my
self to be drawn into an engagement here from which they were
so unwilling to release me, that I literally tore away & came
here. But a few days labor here assured me that the church
were in any thing but a state of preparation for a revival.
I have therefore been preaching mostly to them. They seem almost with
one consent to see that they had lost the true idea of religion. Why
Br. C. it is amazing to what an extent this is true in all the churches.
The work of the Lord has been going on in the church with increasing interest
& power from the first. A few from without were hoping last week.
Yesterday preached as usual twice, & last evening was truly a solemn
time. Many professed consecration. The house was too full to use the
anxious seat as no one could stir from his place. Every place literally
jammed full & multitudes went away that could not get in at all.
I preached on consecration & called for decision. Multitudes that
could not be numbered rose & vowed to be wholly the Lords. The
last day will show with what degree of intelligence or sincerity
they did it. The Lord had so prepared the way & enabled me
to present the subject with such unusual clearness for me,
that I can hardly doubt that the consecration was real, at least
with numbers of them. We havefull houses & increasing interest
from the first. For the last few days I have preached every P.M.
& evening. Shall not attempt to do this long. But as so many
impenitent attend in the evening I thought it a pity to preach
every evening to the church & found it impossible to do anything
without beginning at the bottom with them. I therefore preach
to the church in the P.M. & to a promiscuous audience in the evening.
Dont know when I shall get through here. Think now that I shall
return when I am through in this place. It is a hard & difficult
field in consequence of the dreadful state of professed christians.
The impenitent are more easily converted than the churches.
Dont publish any thing from me in your paper on this subject
yet. The Detroit presbytery, within whose bounds I am & in
one of whose churches I am laboring, had their annual
meeting about 20 miles from here last week. Three of their number
were for passing resolutions against my laboring in their churches
but Br. Duffield of D[et]roit & others opposed it. So they did nothing.
I have written Br. Duffield a letter thanking him for the course he
took & begging his Pres. to be careful what they do.
Your Brother. C. G. Finney.
George Nelson Allen (1812-1877). See William E. Bigglestone, "George Nelson Allen: Teacher In Spite of Himself" Northwest Ohio Quarterly Vol. 48, No. 1 (Winter 1975-76), pp. 3-23.