The GOSPEL TRUTH
CHARLES G. FINNEY
To Rebecca Rayl
22 September 1865
[MS in possession of Dr. Richard Rayle of Miami University, Oxford, Ohio]
Oberlin, Friday morning,
22 Sept. 1865.
My Darling Mrs. Rayl,
Last evening I recd yours of
the 20th & 21, & afterwards Mrs. H.
sent me the notes enclosed in yours
to her. These were the first I had
heard from you. We must, & I trust
we do keep, the will of God as
thus far revealed. We have prayed
for guidance & must follow providen
tial leadings. This interference
with our plans indicates that
God wants us to be more delib
erate. God may see that we have
been unwise & may intend to
corect us in time. Would not
our marriage at the time proposed
have the appearance of frustrating
Providential leading & forcing our
way hastily against the indications
of his will. I fear it might have this
appearance. My impression is my
Dearest one, that we should quietly
wait until our way is clear.
Mrs. Henderson has just been in &
thinks that I had better go out &
see you ^ Monday. I fear that this
will create too much excitement for
Dear sick Julia. Still perhaps it
would be more satisfactory to you
if I should come. I might come &
if I come shall come alone. When
I hear your reasons for not wishing
delay I may think with you that
we should be married then & there.
I can not think of taking you away
from your sick child even for an hour,
I should wish to bring you home for a
night & send you back the next day.
I can marry & leave you quietly with
your daughter until Providence gives
you leave to come home, if this course
is best. Mrs Henderson has been to consult
Mrs [? ], & Mrs [? ] has been to see
Mrs. Henderson & Mrs [? ] feels troubled.
These ladies all think that we
should not delay our marriage.
It almost looks as if they distrusted
Providence & fear to have any
delay lest we should come to the
conclusion that our marriage ought
not take place at all. I do
not like this view of the subject.
There must be no self will & no running
across the leadings of providence in
this matter. In this you & I are
agreed, & our friends must not
overrule us in this respect. Surely
this providence means something.
It has a voice. There is a lesson in
it. I am made to fear the influence
of your lady friends more than ever
by their disregard of this voice of
providence. I told Mrs. Henderson this
morning that I had been fearing her
influence on you & had overlooked
the influence that she was exerting
over me to urge me on to make
you my wife. I fear we shall not
entirely respect ourselves if we are
carried against what ought to be
our convictions in view of the plain
indications of Providence. God will
lead us if we will allow Him to do
so. We must see our own way clear
however & not walk in the light
or according to the impressions of
others. It will no doubt be useful to
us to remain apart for some weeks
& let our feelings become more adjus
ted to our judgments. It is plainly
a part of God's plan that you should
be away from me & from those friends who
have been working upon your feelings.
As we are now situated we can, after
a few weeks, better understand ourselves.
If we remain of the same mind after
this providential separation we can go
forward with more confidence. But if a few
weeks of separation from each other & from our
advisers we find our feelings & views different
we can defer the matter & avoid an ill advised
union. Thus I read this Providence.
But I hope to hear from you again
to day & tomorrow, & the intelligence
may settle the question.
I should have written you before,
but from the fact that I did not
hear from you, I hoped that you
would be ^ at home ere this time.
I hope this letter will not pain
you. I trust we see & read this
providence alike. We both desire
to know the will of God concerning
this solemn matter. We have to act
with such deliberation as not to reproach
ourselves with folly & selfishness.
As you say our "conclusion really
concluded nothing" & again we are
compelled to wait for fur further
indications of the Divine will.
God bless you My Precious one. I
do not forget you, nor Dear Julia.
I can detain this until the western
mail arrives before I mail it. I may
receive a letter from you that will
decide me in regard to going out to
see you on monday. No. I have a
business church meeting that will
prevent my getting a letter from you
& mailing this afterwards. I must
send this & write again to morrow
D. V. This view of the subject that I
have taken will not trouble us if
we are in a right state of mind
in respect to accepting the will
of God. When we fear to wait
& study the indications of his will
something is not right. God will sure
ly lead on in the right way. I
think that we both greatly need
release, for a season, from those
outward influences that have been
bearing so heavily upon us.
This necessary delay & separation
is in answer to prayer.
I hope to hear that Julia is better.
God bless you Darling
for ever more,
C. G. Finney.
Finney appears to have originally started to write another word here, but crossed it out and inserted on, then added Monday.
These names are not legible.