The GOSPEL TRUTH
CHARLES G. FINNEY
To James and Alice Barlow
7 December 1863
[MS in Finney Papers 2/2/2]
Oberlin. Ohio. U.S. 7th Dec. 1863
My Dear Br. & Sister Barlow.
My Precious Wife has gone to heaven.
For the last year she has been failing
with a distressing cough. About the
first of Sept. she went to Clifton Springs
water cure. There an ulcer broke in her
lungs & relieved the congestion & her
Physician pronounced her better. He
however recommended that she should
visit the sea shore for the recovery of
her strength. She went, but her strength
continuing to fail, she was ordered back
to the "cure" by the Physician. On her way
back she was suddenly cut down in
the cars, taken to a Hotel in
the city of Syracuse, & died there.
Her two sons, her brother & lady cousin
were with her. I was not with her
& only reached her to attend her
funeral. Her family burying ground
is on the beautiful "Mount Hope" the
city cemetary of Rochester N. York. There
she has always expected to be buried.
She lies surrounded by her first husband
& 6. Children. This city is not far from
where she breathed her last. I only arri
ved to see her dear face through the
transparent lid of her coffin. A more
lovely looking corps I never saw. Her
flesh had not wasted much. She
appeared, in her last sleep, much
younger than when alive, & her
countenance was radiant with
smiles. Her departure, at the time,
was very sudden & altogether unexpected.
I feared that she was gradually sinking
with consumption. But when her lungs
grew better the disease suddenly
determined to her head, & she became
paralized. To the last she was, in
spirit, as you knew her. A blessed
woman she was. Grace had done its
work for, & in, her, & she was a ripe chris
tian & fully prepared for her change.
She did not expect to depart so soon.
As a wife she was most affectionate & faithful.
As a Mother, most loving, wise, & successful.
As a christian, she always has been since
she has been my wife, what you saw her
to be, Consistent, laborious, selfsacrificing
useful. I never saw a more uniform
Christian. She was never impulsive or
flighty, but sober, rational, always abou
nding in the work of the Lord.
I bless God for the grace bestowed upon
her. She departed this life on the 27th ult.
I do not know when she last wrote to you.
You & the dear friends at Bolton
were ever on her heart. We were
often conversing of the sweet days
we spent at your house, & the blessed
scenes through which we passed at
Bolton, & in Manchester & other parts
of England. So, My Dr. Br. & sister Barlow,
I am left to make the rest of my journey
home without my sweet companion, &
helpmeet. But blessed be God it is but
a little way, & I am not alone. Christ
is with me & has "said I will never
leave thee nor forsake thee". My Dear
wife has suffered sever[e]ly in health for
many months past. But it is all over.
I can not but mourn her b absence, but
so unspeakable is her gain, that I am
ashamed to think or speak of my loss.
She has lived much in anticipation
of this change for years. But none of
us were expecting it so suddenly.
Her interest in her English friends never
abated as I could perceive. She was
ready, at any time, to return, & resume
her labors while she had life to do
so. Do, My Dr. Br. & Sister give my love
to such of our friends as are within
your reach. You are aware that I have
been ill much of the time since we left
England. The health of my Dear wife
suffered a good deal through her unre
mitting care of me. She has gone & I
remain. I am able to preach considerable
now & attend to college duties. Since
I have been so ill I have given more
thought to the subject of death than
ever before. It has ceased to be to me an
object of terror or even of sorrow.
It must be to a christian a most
desirable & glorious change. You
will pray for me, will you not,
my Dr. Br. & Sister. My youngest Child,
a Daughter, is with me. She was not
married as was expected soon after
our return from England. This, I can
see, was providential. Her engagement
was broken off by mutual consent.
She is a sweet Christian as, perhaps, you
ever saw. My wives youngest & only surviving
daughter, by her 1st husband, is the wife of
my son who is an Officer in the army. She
is with me also. My Children are all to me
that children can be. Give my dearest
love to all your Dear family. Your Br. be, forever
C. G. Finney.
Elizabeth Finney died on 27 November 1863.