The GOSPEL TRUTH
CHARLES G. FINNEY
To William B. Orvis
In 1869 a book was published with the title: The Coming of Christ in His Kingdom, and the "Gates Wide Open" to the Future Earth and Heaven. Adventism, Millennarianism, and a Gross Materialism Exposed and Refuted, and the True Nature of Christ's Kingdom as Promised in the Latter-Day Glory of Earth, and the Consummated Glories of Heaven unfolded. Embracing the Scripture Doctrine of The New Earth Era, The Coming of Christ, The Resurrection of the Dead, Messiah's Triumph Over Hades, The Judgment Ordeal, The Future Heavenly Glory. By A Congregational Minister (Published in New York by N. Tibbals & Co.; in Boston by D. Lathrop & Co.; and in Chicago by W.G. Holmes). Opposite the title page is a list of "Commendations proffered after examination of this work in manuscript" among which is the following:
"A book adverse to the doctrines of Millennarianism&emdash;the result of many years investigation of that question. I think the work will be interesting."
C. G. FINNEY,
Professor of Theology in the Oberlin College.
The author of the work was William B. Orvis, ( d. 1890), a minister in Wilmington Vermont, who had been a student of Finney's at Oberlin in the 1840s. A leaflet advertising the book as "Just Published!" was sent by Orvis to James Monroe in Oberlin, which contained further commendations :
Pres. Finney, of Oberlin, O., alluding to Millennarian, and some other reviewers of the above work, in his sweeping and earnest style, says to the author: "God raised you up to write that book. He gives to every man his work." And adds: "I can hardly express my surprise, and shall I say contempt, in view of the hasty, fanciful, and absurd opinions that have been put forth upon this subject. So much is mere conjecture, and put forth with such assurance that I stand amazed in view of such a wilderness of nonsense. . . I doubt if any of your reviewers know half as much as you do about the question, or enough to utter an opinion that deserves respect. I am inclined to think that you are in the main right, perhaps altogether." After a more careful reading of the book he writes: "Dear Bro. Orvis: I have read your book on the Coming of Christ in his Kingdom with interest and profit. . . I think Christians generally, and young ministers in particular, would be well paid for, not merely reading, but also for closely studying, the book. It has cost you much research, and I hope it may be useful to the Church of God. . . I earnestly hope it may be extensively read and prayerfully pondered by Christian people."
Your brother in the Lord,
C. G. FINNEY.
Sent with a letter dated 18 January 1871, in Monroe Papers, Oberlin College Archives.