The GOSPEL TRUTH
CHARLES G. FINNEY
To James and Alice Barlow
29 April 1870
[MS in Finney Papers 2/2/2]
Oberlin College 29th April 1870
My Dear Br. & Sister Barlow,
I have just read with tears &
a melting heart the reported proc
eedings of the meeting on occasion
of the presentation of Br. Barlow's
portrait to the town of Bolton.
O how it has moved my heart
& increased my longing to see you.
And your dear employees. How
it has quickened my remembrance
of meeting with them at their
place of business when numbers
of them professed to turn to the
Lord. Indeed, Dear Bolton
has come up with its streets.
& buildings - its market - its
Temperance Hall - Its crowded
audiences - its solemn interested
faces - their tearful eyes & all
the stirring scenes through which
I past with my Dear Wife when
there. But connected with all
those stiring scenes, the vivid
recollection of my Br. & Sister Barlow.
Our delightful residence with you.
Our deep & earnest love of both of
you & yours of us - Our love of your
Children & th[e]irs of us - & above all
the blessed revival scenes through
which we passed, has stired
my soul to its depths. The respect
& love of your employees - the testimony
of all classes to Br. Barlow's integrity
is a great comfort to me. An[d] then
the tribute of confidence & respect
paid to sister Barlow has touched
my heart & made it easier for
me to forgive her not writing to me.
But Sister Barlow will you not
write me. I want to hear from
your own self how you are in
soul & body. From your silence
I have been tempted to infer that
you are not yet out of the wilderness of
doubt in which I found you.
Whatever you[r] state of mind is do
write me & let me know how to
pray for you. Do let me hear from
you both, & all about your family.
About the state of religion there
& so far as you know at Manchester.
Br. Barlow, I think this meeting
will do good in many ways.
will [it] not stimulate other
employers to so treat their
employees as to lessen the
frequency of strikes & the turbulence
of clubs & trades unions & all
that kind of thing. Will you
not give my dearest love to such of
your employees as remember me.
Tell them that I think of them
in mass often although I have
not much recollection of them
personally. Also give my love to Br.
& Sister Bell & in short to such of
my friends as you may chance to meet
& who may care to hear form me
both in Bolton & Manchester.
My health is quite good. I preach
twice ^ & Sab. as usual, & the word of
the Lord is proved from week to
week to be the power of God to salvation.
We have had a continuous revival
for nearly a year. Indeed we are
always having here, what would
be regarded as a revival in any other
place. You wer[e] here i.e. in Washington
when the infamous fugitive slave
bill was passed, What a change has
God wrought. We can hardly realize it
ourselves. Our College is highly prosperous.
Your scholarships are doing good
service. I keep them in constant
use, giving the benefit of them
to indigent but worthy students.
I do wish you could come and see us. Why
cant you come over this season & pay
us a visit. I so long to see you that had
I the means I should visit you once
more. I want to visit my former
fields of labor & preach at least
a few times to my old friends in the Lord.
I have written you of my present
precious wife. She is just such
a wife as I need. She is full
of health & good spirits. Loving &
faithful as can be desired.
I marvel that God has given
me another of his best daughters.
I must say that in Bolton, we
made the acquaintance of
several of the finest & best women
we saw in England. Mrs Best,
Mrs. Smith, Mrs Bell, Mrs Barlow
& many others. We were particularly
struck with the fact that the
Wesleyan ministers are as a body
so much blessed in their wives.
As a class we did not meet
their equals in England.
I have often thought of this, as a
marked providence of God.
The fact is that Wesleyanism has
been the salvation & the glory of
England. The more I saw of
England the more I was impressed
with this fact. The Methodists in
this country are a great power
& are doing much good, but
relatively they are not what
the Wesleyans are in England.
I have shaken off official responsibility
to this College. I had borne the
burden & heat of the day until
I last fall resigned all official
relation to the College. True my
resignation had been tendered
before & unanimously rejected, &
my last has not be[en] accepted,
but I think it will be. At any
rate I must be excused from
giving so much time & strength
to teaching classes & spend
my remaining strength in
preaching. I have a great & highly
intelligent congregation & amongst
them about 1000 students. It seems
to be my duty to teach the masses
rather than spend my strength
in the class room, shut up
to a company of mere students.
I preach with nearly as much
ease, & so far as I can see with
as much profit to the people
as ever in my life. I can not
preach as often as formerly,
but whilst my strength
holds out I can preach
as well I think. My people
profess to think, better. At any
rate preaching Christ is my
joy, my business, my life.
Br. & Sister Barlow if I were
pecuniously as able to go &
see you as you are to come
& see me I ^ think it duty
to see you soon & talk & pray
over former, present, & future
times. Where & How is Thomas.
Which of your boys expects to take
your place? Many of my
English friends are gone to heaven
since I left there. I had a precious
letter from Br. Brown of Houghton
recently. He is married a third
time. The same precious spirit as
ever. Dr. Campbell of London
has gone to his account. I want
to ask a 1000 questions but you
could not get time to answer
them. How are your old neighbors
the Johnsons. How is that mizerly
man a Mill owner who professed
to be converted in my room
at your house.? This vast country
is fast improving. We are getting
settled & reconstructed & great
revivals of religion are prevailing
in every direction. Rapidly as our
population increases, conversions incre
ase faster. In 1800, the members of evan
gelical Churches were as one to thirteen,
Now they are as one to six, & the
ration of gain is constantly increasing
God bless you all for evermore
C. G. Finney
Finney describes this incident in his Memoirs, p. 604.
This word is unclear, but it may be "clubs".
The Barlows were in America in 1854. See "James Barlow Esq., J.P." in Bolton Journal, 1 June 1878, p.7. The Fugitive Slave Law was passed in 1850.
This man was probably John Sharples, of the firm of Sharples and Horrocks. Finney describes his encounter with him in his Memoirs, p. 608.