The GOSPEL TRUTH
CHARLES G. FINNEY
To J. M. H. Dow
22 January 1869
[MS in Finney Papers # 1991]
Extracts from a letter which Finney wrote to J. M. H. Dow of Boston, dated 22 January 1869, are quoted in a letter of Dow to Finney. Finney was replying to a letter from Dow, dated Boston, 13 January 1869, in which Dow had written:
Of Boston, I need not write you as to "the powers that be."
Dr Stone is in California Dr's Adams & Blagden have lost their hold on the public mind, & Mr. Murray, - the newly settled Pastor of Park St. is a young man of original turn of mind, & is possessed of an independent spirit; but his feelings respecting Evangelists & Revival measures, have not been developed; but there is hope that he will not be led by the would-be dictators of the Congl Churches.
The Salem St. Church, & the Mariner's Church, (formerly located on Summer St.) have been united under the patronage of the Boston Seamen's Friend Soc. & in consultation with our Board of Managers - I have been encouraged, & authorized to obtain the aid for several weeks, of such a Preacher as I might feel disposed to call to my assistance to preach once or twice on the Sabbath, & perhaps twice during the week, as we might think best. Now, is it not possible for you to come to Boston under this arrangement & labor as you may feel able? Hundreds in the City, & vicinity are desirous that you should again be heard in Boston - & the Pastors & Churches have nothing to do in advising, or opposing this invitation, & therefore I hope you will not allow their feelings to influence you in the least. It is thought by certain influential members of the Park St. Church, that their Pastor, could he hear you discourse upon the great truths of the gospel, he would embrace your views, & be led to adopt measures calculated to move the dead weights now hanging upon those who would run the Christian race as looking unto Jesus.
I had an interview this P.M. with Bro. Sears - & he said "write for Bro. Finney!" You shall be sustained, my Bro, & you need preach only when, and as short as you please. Our Legislature is now in session, & many earnest souls will be induced to hear the gospel, & go home as the devout men went form Jerusalem after the Meeting on the day of Pentecost. The Providence of God has opened the way for you to come again to Boston, & I hope nothing may prevent your being able to enter this field again to cheer the hearts of many, who years ago, were led to Christ - spiritual Children who, will greet you as a Father in the Gospel.
If there is any work you wish to Publish, I will assist you any way, & every way in my power - & make your stay as agreeable, & profitable to you as I possibly can.
I know of no man who can, at this time, do as much good in Boston, as yourself! Come, if you have nothing particular to prevent your doing so, & as soon as you can do so, & I will arrange for your reception.
Bro. Sears felt confident that you would come, under existing circumstances.
Please inform me by the earliest Mail. I feel confident that one Lecture a week, even if you can only sit & talk to the hundreds who wish to hear you, will accomplish more at this time, than from any, & all others who are in the City. There is a felt need of something in the churches which they have not. Last evening I attended a Union of the Churches composing the Two Conferences of Congl Chh's - a conference to devise means for the promotion of the cause of piety- A most stupendous failure! The Sunday Schools Home Missions- Home Evangelization & all the machinery of Chh action was called up, but nothing said of the need of the Holy Ghost to set all the Moral Machinery in motion! When will the Chh learn the way to the throne of grace? May the Lord direct you, & all of us who hope to see you here, ere long.
The next letter from Dow, dated Boston, Jan 26th, contains the extracts from Finney's letter:
My Dear Bro. Finney,
Yours of the 22d was received Saturday Eve. I am sorry to learn of your illness, but from the hopeful manner in which you wrote that, "it bids fair to pass off-" I feel encouraged to hope that you may yet be able to visit Boston, if it is not till February, or even till March.
Now as to your coming to Boston, & the questions you propose.
1 "Is your Church well ventilated?"
Ans-, You can have all the ventilation you desire.
2. "Is your congregation large?"
Ans- My congregations are variable from 200 -- 400 -- The house will seat from 1000 to 1200 persons.
3. "Could I preach in the day time during the week?"
Ans- You can preach as often during the week as your strength may admit, & the interest may demand.
4. "Could I have comfortable quarters for myself & wife near the Church?"
Ans. I will make the best arrangements for you I possibly can, & shall be most happy to have Mrs. Finney come with you.
5. "Would your people sustain a daily Prayer Meeting?"
Ans- All of my people who can will attend, & devout men from other Churches assure me of their interest & personal presence at such meetings.
William Henry Harrison Murray (b. 1840), author of Music Hall Sermons (1870) was pastor of Park Street Church for 7 years. (National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Vol. X , p. 230-1)