The GOSPEL TRUTH
CHARLES G. FINNEY
To Edwin Lamson
10 February 1864
[MS in Finney Papers 2/2/1]
Oberlin 10th Feb. 1864.
My Dear Br. Lamson.
Yours of the 1st. inst is recd.
As I make exertion to forward
the work of grace here I am settled
in the persuasion that my strength
is insufficient at present to meet the
wants of the Union Evangelical Mission.
Your letter reveals a discouraging
state of things so far as union is
concerned. I like the spirit of
Br. Coolidge's letters. If the society
is made up of such spirits good
will result from the movement.
Let them persevere without casting
reproach upon any one, taking
as little notice of opposition
as possible. If that city is ever
shaken spiritually it must be
through mighty prayer. Br. Kirk
is a good man. In common with
all of us he has his infirmities. He
will advise according to his highest
wisdom & do what else he can to
help forward the enterprize.
If they will only hold on in
mighty prayer deliverance will
come, for God is able of the stones
in your streets to raise up the
effectual instrumentality. I do not
think it a fact that should stumble
them that as yet the human help
they seek is not on hand. They must
first be shut up to God. When they
are so & are not discouraged, but
wax more & more humble, but
determined to prevail in prayer
If in this spirit they settle upon
it to make a life long effort
for the redemption of Boston
they will not fail, but sooner
or later prevail in spite of all
opposition. Why Br. Lamson
let the praying people take
courage - lay all on the altar,
& consecrate themselves to this
great work & hold on, not
looking back & they shall
not fail to realize their
expectations. I do not expect
they will directly accomplish
much through their present arrange
ment for preaching. Prayer meetings
rightly conducted & used can
accomplish wonders. I wish I could
be there to assist in their prayer
meetings, even if I could not
preach much. Such meetings
may be made the most powerful
of revival instrumentalities.
Br. Lamson, help the brethren. Dont
let them be discouraged. If they dont
do better for themselves perhaps my
God will strengthen me to come when
they have prevailed in prayer.
I am as well & better than when
you last saw me, but my
power of endurance is much less
at present. My nervous system that
has been so long tried, has recd a
pull back by the sudden failure
of my Dearest wife. However I am
less broken by it than I feared, yet
more so than I was aware of until
within the two or three weeks past.
I wrote last to Br. Coolidge just before
I recd your & his last which came
by the same mail. Will you not
see him & strengthen his dear hands.
I am glad that Br. Kirk has
committed himself to the enterprize.
I wonder if ever Br. Stone & Kirk &
Dexter will ever cordially unite
in one effort. God bless them &
guide them. I have not seen
the tract on evangelists of which
you have spoken. Can you not
send me a few. With love
to Dear Mary & many kisses for
the little sweets. I am as always
C. G. Finney
Finney had received the following letter from Kirk:
Boston, Jan. 26, 1864.
Rev C. G. Finney,
I am in the Union movement with all my heart. But whether the Lord will condescend to use it I do not know.
Mr. Coolidge has shewed me your letter to him. It is dictated by Christian wisdom throughout. The expression, "Bro. Kirk was committed against me" is too strong to express the case as it is.
It is this that leads me to write to you. I am not against you. I simply can not labor with you in promoting the work of converting souls. I need not repeat what I once said to you of our difference in regard to practical religion. I need not add other reasons which bring me to the conclusion that I can not profitably and satisfactorily labor with you in this blessed work.
But I wish you distinctly to understand that I do not oppose you as an Evangelist, nor present any objection to the Union Committee, (whom I have advised from the beginning,) from sending for you. If you come here to labor, I will not do any thing to hinder your usefulness, excepting simply not to be with you, unless I shall see that I can do more good by cooperating than by absenting myself. In any case I shall pray for you and your labors.
Do not believe that I have any personal animosity toward you. All the difference between us is in matters of judgment.
May God guide you in this and all other matters.
Yours in the fellowship of the Gospel
Edw. N. Kirk.