The GOSPEL TRUTH
CHARLES G. FINNEY
To The Oberlin Weekly News
c. February 1874
[Published in The Oberlin Weekly News (February 5, 1874), p. 3.]
The following notice appeared in the editorial columns of the Oberlin News (January 29, 1874), p. 2:
The election for post-master, to be held in April, is likely to be preceeded by a campaign of unusual length and earnestness. Six candidates are already in the field, and others are daily arriving. The term of the present incumbent expires by limitation, next Summer, and it is understood that our Representative, Mr. Monroe, will refer the choice of a successor to the patrons of the office to vote upon at the Spring election. ..."
The subject was taken up by Finney in the next issue of the paper:
Are we to have a new Postmaster? If so, why? It is often the best policy to let "well enough alone." If there are good reasons for change, I beg leave to make to our citizens the following suggestions; I make them in the interest of no individual, but in the interests of the community:
First, principles that should guide our choice; a, the law of benevolence ought to be our rule of action; b, the interest in question is public and not private; c, the public interest ought not to be subordinated to a private one; d, the highest good of the public should not to be sacrificed to prejudice, partisan feeling or favoritism; e, we should be on our guard against what politicians call wire-pulling, log-rolling, and political trickery; f, we should honestly consult the highest public good in acting upon these principles. If two or more candidates would equally subserve the public interests, then, g, we should consider our obligations to the divers candidates on account of their usefulness hitherto in the community; h, we should consider their respective necessities, all other things being equal, preferring the more, to the less, needy candidate.
Secondly, Whom we do not want: a, we do not want a stranger who knows and cares but little about us as a people; b, we do not want an invalid, that must act by deputy or proxy, for, in that case we are liable, practically, to be turned over into the hands of the those in whom we have little or no confidence, or with whom we have little or no acquaintance. We cannot afford to have this work in the hands of giddy boys or girls, or to be done by any one with whom we are not acquainted, and whom we would not choose to occupy this position; c, we do not want one who is not known to be in fullest sympathy with our aims and principles as a christian educational community. We don't want a sour, fault-finding spirit who will constantly misrepresent us. We do not want one whose record is not clear on these points; d, we do not want one who has never done anything for us as a community, who has lived on us, but not for us; e, we do not want one in whom there is not a general and well-grounded confidence, growing out of a pretty thorough acquaintance.
Thirdly, Whom we do want: a, we want one who is well known to be fully competent to satisfactorily fulfil the duties of the office; b, we want one who is thoroughly honest; c, we want one, also, of a genial temperament, not cross and snappish; d, we want, also, a public-spirited man, and not a close-fisted one; e, in addition to the above, we want our candidate to be well-known as a devoted seeker of the highest interests of the community, and not a grasping soul, that cares only for himself; f, we want a man of good habits, "temperate in all things;" one who does not smoke tobacco himself, nor suffer others to do it in the office to the great annoyance of the community; g, we want a patriotic man; h, we want one who is a believer in, and a supporter of, christian institutions; i, we want a man who will make the duties of the office his own personal business. One who will pledge himself to attend to it personally, and not turn us over to deputies whom we do not know or, in whom, we have but little confidence; j, we want a man of prompt and thorough business habits; k, we want one who is affable, gentlemanly and obliging; l, other things being equal, we prefer a man with a family as this will more thoroughly identify him with the interests of the community.
Fourthly, a, if two or more candidates are equal, in the above respects, we should consider whether, as a community, we are under more obligations to one that to any other as being and having been serviceable to the community and the nation; b, if two or more candidates are equal in the above respects, we should take into account the necessities of those candidates, and give our patronage to the more, instead of the less, needy, remembering not to make the necessity of our candidate the ground of our choice, if he is not what we want in other respects. His wants are not to override the wants of the community; c, we should take into the account the public influence that our candidate will exert if he obtains the position; d, we should consider how our choice will be likely to affect the morals and public reputation of the place.
Lastly, let us choose a man of whom we shall have no cause, in any respect, to be ashamed. We have such men in this community. Let us be wise and unselfish.
C. G. FINNEY.
The Oberlin Weekly News (February 5, 1874), p. 3. The name of the newspaper had been changed.