The GOSPEL TRUTH
CHARLES G. FINNEY
To the Friends of our Lord Jesus Christ
13 September 1858
[MS in Oberlin College Archives, 7/1/3]
Oberlin 13. Sept. 1858.
To the friends of our Lord Jesus Christ.
At the recent meeting of the Trustees
of Oberlin College ^ it unanimously agreed,
that without longer delay, an opportunity
should be offered to the church to endow
the theological department of the college.
To carry out this resolution Reverend
Henry Cowles was appointed an Agent
to acquaint the friends of Christ abroad
of the nature of our work. the extent
of our success. Our present prospects
& our wants. It is believed by us at
Oberlin, that the Church needs only
to understand the facts in the case
to feel it a privilege to share with us
in this good work. We think they will
gladly give permanency to this departm
ent when ever the facts are laid
before them. This it is the object of Br.Cowles
to do, wherever he has an open door.
A brother who has spent many years of
his life in agencies for benevolent enterprises,
has visited us more than once, & has spent
days in ascertaining the details of what
has been done here for the cause of God.
How it has been done. At what expense
it has been done. What we are still doing,
& how, & ^ what expense. What we need
to give the requisite support to the Faculty,
& provide other facilities for the prosecu
tion of our work, has expressed the
opinion that the whole history of educati
onal enterprises affords no instance in
which so great good has been done with
so small means, & that the church needs
only to understand the facts to con
sider it a privilege to furnish all
the pecuniary aid we need.
Confiding in the justice of this opinion
we have resolved to submit the whole
question to the prayerful consideration
of the Church of Christ. & ask her to
share effectually with us in this
good work. Br.Cowles can state what has
been done for education Missions, Revivals
Antislavery, & the various branches of reform.
Also the bearing of our work upon the
sectarianism of the Church, as well as
upon the religious & political state of
our nation. May the Lord give him
wisdom to rightly represent us &
the work to which the Lord has called
us & when the brethren & sisters under
stand us let them do whatever they
think will please our Lord Jesus Christ
Your Br. & fellow laborer in
the Lord. C. G. Finney.
The general endowment of the College in the form of scholarships, which had saved Oberlin from bankruptcy in the 1850s, was of no particular help to the Theological Department, because theological students were not required to pay tuition. (See R. S. Fletcher, History, p. 895)
It looks as if was should have been inserted between it and unanimously.
At the annual meeting of the Board of Trustees, during August 18-26 1858, the main subject of discussion was the reorganisation of the Theological Department. On Friday 20th August:
The subject of agencies in connection with a provision for the Theological Department was now brought up & very fully discussed.
Arising out of the discussions, at the meeting the next day, it was
Voted that Revd. Henry Cowles be appointed general soliciting agent with power to appoint other agencies & to superintend generally (with the advice of the Prudl Comee[)] the endowment of the Theological department & the College generally.
See "Board of Trustee Minutes", Oberlin College Archives.