The GOSPEL TRUTH
CHARLES G. FINNEY
Early Labors in Oberlin
The students from Lane Seminary came here, and the trustees put up barracks, or shanties, in which they were lodged. When it was known that this college was opened, the students thronged to us from every direction. After I was engaged to come here, the brethren here wrote requesting me to bring a large tent to hold meetings in, as there was no room here large enough to accommodate the people. I made this request known to some of my brethren, who told me to go and get a tent made, and they would "foot the bills." I went and engaged the tent, and they handed me the money to pay for it. But just at this time the brethren here fearing that the tent might be a snare, inasmuch as we should be pressed so much to go and preach and use the tent throughout all this new country, so that we should be in danger of leaving our main work here for the sake of performing evangelical labor in the towns and counties around us--they therefore wrote to me that I had better drop the idea of getting the tent. I informed the brethren who had given me the money, and asked them what I should do with it. They told me that they would not take it back, but advised that it should be given either to the funds of the college, or to some other benevolent enterprise, I am not certain which. However, I disposed of it according to their views, and thought no more about it until a very short time before I was to leave for Oberlin, when lo! another request came from the brethren here saying that they did not see how they could do without the tent, and therefore wished me to get it. I felt chagrined at this; but as I knew the hearts and pockets of my friends in New York were thoroughly opened, and that they were thoroughly committed to carry this project forward, I mentioned this last request to them. They said without the least hesitation, "Get the tent made, and we will give you the money to pay for it."
I then went and ordered it again a circular tent a hundred feet in diameter, with all the paraphernalia of putting it up. At the top of the center pole which supported the tent, was a streamer, upon which was written in very large characters, "Holiness to the Lord." This tent was of great service to us. When the weather would permit we spread it upon the square every Sabbath, and held public services in it. We held several of our earliest Commencements in it. It was used to some extent for holding protracted meetings in the region round about, but never so as to interfere with our public labors here.
I have spoken of the agreement of Brother Arthur Tappan to supply us with funds, to the extent of his whole income, till we were beyond pecuniary want. The understanding of Brother Tappan and myself was a private one, a promise made to me individually as a condition of my coming here. He said: "I want your institution to be known; therefore I want your trustees to send out agents over the country, and into the cities, and make the objects and wants of the institution known. Collect what money you can, and spread the knowledge of your enterprise through your agencies as far as you can. I do not want you to spread an abolition flag; but carry out your design of receiving colored students upon the same conditions that you do white ones; and see to it that the work be not taken out of the hands of the faculty and spoiled by the trustees, as was the case in Cincinnati. Just let it be known that you thus receive students, and work your way on as best you can. Go on and put up your buildings as fast as you can; and whatever your deficiency of funds may be, after making efforts through your agents, you may draw on me and I will honor your draft to the extent of my income from year to year."
I came on the ground with this understanding. But it was farther understood between Brother Tappan and myself that his pledge should not be known to the trustees, lest they should fail to make due efforts as he desired, not merely to collect funds, but to make the wants and objects of the institution known throughout the land. In accordance with this understanding the work here was pushed as fast as it could well be, considering that we were in the heart of a great forest, and in a mud hole, as this whole neighborhood then was. The location of the institution was unfortunate, ill-considered, hastily decided upon; and had it not been for the good hand of God in helping us at every step, the institution would have been a failure because of its ill-judged location. It has cost us many thousand dollars to overcome the natural obstacles in the way of planting a college here.
We had only fairly got under way, and in the process of putting up our buildings, and had arranged to need a large amount of money, when the great commercial crash prostrated Brother Tappan, and nearly all the men who had subscribed for the fund for the support of the faculty. The commercial crash went over the country, and prostrated the great mass of wealthy men. It left us not only without funds for the support of the faculty, but fifty thousand dollars in debt, without any prospect, that we could see, of obtaining funds from the friends of the college in this country. Brother Tappan wrote me at this time, acknowledging expressly the promise he had made me, expressing the deepest regret that he was prostrated and wholly unable to fulfil his pledge. Our necessities were then great, and in human view it would seem as if the college must be a failure.
The state was then strongly democratic in politics, and utterly opposed to our enterprise because of its abolition character. The towns around us were so hostile to our movement as to oppose in every way they could, going so far as to threaten to come and tear down what buildings we had put up. A democratic legislature was in the meantime endeavoring to get some hold of us that would enable them to abrogate our charter. In this state of things there was of course a great crying to God among the people here. In the meantime my revival lectures had been very extensively circulated in England; and we were aware that the British public would strongly sympathize with us if they knew our objects, our prospects, and our condition. We therefore fitted out an agency composed of Rev. John Keep and Mr. Wm Dawes, and got for them letters of recommendation, and expressions of confidence in our enterprise, from some of the principal men in the United States. They went to England and laid our objects and our wants before the British public. They generously responded, and gave us ten thousand pounds Sterling. This very nearly canceled our indebtedness.
Our friends scattered throughout the northern states, who were abolitionists and friends of revivals, generously aided us to the extent of their ability. But we had to struggle with poverty and many trials for a number of years. Sometimes we did not know from day to day how we were to be provided for. Especially was this true of myself. The endowment fund had failed, and the faculty were altogether unprovided for. But with the blessing of God we helped ourselves as best we could. At one time I saw no means of providing for my family through the winter. A Thanksgiving day had been appointed by the executive of the state; which came and found us so poor that I had been obliged to sell my travelling trunk, which I used in my evangelical labors, to supply the place of a cow which I had lost. I rose on the morning of Thanksgiving, and spread our necessities before the Lord. I finally concluded by saying that if help did not come, I should assume that it was best that it should not, and would be entirely satisfied with any course that the Lord would see it wise to take. I went and preached, and enjoyed my own preaching as well, I think, as I ever did. I had a blessed day to my own soul; and I could see that the people enjoyed it exceedingly. When the meeting was out I was detained a little while in conversation with some brethren, and my wife came home. When I came home and entered the gate, she came to the door and stood in the open door with an open letter in her hand. As I approached she smilingly said, "The answer has come, my dear"; and handed me the letter containing a check from Brother Josiah Chapin of Providence, R.I., for two hundred dollars. He had been here the previous summer with his wife. I had said nothing about my wants at all, as I never was in the habit of mentioning them to anybody. But in the letter containing the check he said he had learned that the endowment fund had failed, and that I was in want of help. He intimated that I might expect more from time to time. He continued to send me six hundred dollars a year for several years; and on this I managed to live.
I should have said that agreeably to my arrangement in New York, I spent my summers here and my winters there for two or three years. We had a blessed reviving whenever I returned to preach there. We also had a revival here continually. Very few students came here then without being converted. But my health soon became such that I found I must relinquish one of these fields of labor. But the interests of the institution here seemed to forbid utterly that I should leave it. I therefore took my dismissal from my church in New York; and the six months of the year that I was to have spent in New York, I spent in laboring abroad to promote revivals of religion.
The lectures on revivals of religion were preached while I was still pastor of the Presbyterian church in Chatham St. Chapel. The two following winters I preached lectures to Christians in the Broadway Tabernacle which were also reported by Brother Leavitt, and published in the New York Evangelist. These also have been printed in a volume in this country and in Europe. Those sermons to Christians were very much the result of a searching that was going on in my own mind. I mean, that the Spirit of God was showing me many things in regard to the question of sanctification that led me to preach those sermons to Christians. Many Christians regarded those lectures as rather an exhibition of the law than of the Gospel. But I did not, and do not, so regard them. For me the law and Gospel have but one rule of life; and every violation of the spirit of the law is also a violation of the Spirit of the Gospel. But I have long been satisfied that the higher forms of Christian experience are attained only as a result of a terribly searching application of God's law to the human conscience and heart.
The result of my labors up to that time had shown me more clearly than I had known before the great weakness of Christians, and that the older members of the church as a general thing were making very little progress in grace. I found that they would fall back from a revival state, even sooner than young converts, by far. It had been so in the revival in which I myself was converted. And I had often observed that many of the older members of the church would fall back into a state of comparative apathy and indifference much sooner than young converts. I saw clearly that this was owing to their early teaching; that is, to the views which they had been led to entertain when they were young converts. I was also led into a state of great dissatisfaction with my own want of stability in faith and love. To be candid and tell the truth, I must say to the praise of God's grace that He did not suffer me to backslide to anything like the same extent to which manifestly many Christians did backslide. But I often felt myself weak in the presence of temptation; and needed frequently to hold days of fasting and prayer, and to spend much time in overhauling my own religious life in order to retain that communion with God, and that hold upon the divine strength, that would enable me efficiently to labor for the promotion of revivals of religion.
In looking at the state of the Christian church as it had been revealed to me in my revival labors, I was led earnestly to inquire whether there was not something higher and more enduring than the Christian church was aware of; whether there were not promises, and means provided in the Gospel, for the establishment of Christians in altogether a higher form of Christian life. I had known considerable of the view of sanctification entertained by our Methodist brethren. But as their view of sanctification seemed to me to relate almost altogether to states of the sensibility, I could not receive their teaching. However, I gave myself earnestly to search the Scriptures, and to read whatever came to hand upon the subject, until my mind was satisfied that an altogether higher and more stable form of Christian life was attainable, and was the privilege of all Christians. This led me to preach in the Broadway Tabernacle two sermons on Christian perfection. Those sermons are now included in the volume of lectures preached to Christians. In those sermons I defined what Christian perfection was, and endeavored to show that it is attainable in this life, and the sense in which it is attainable. I said those sermons were published in the New York Evangelist. So far as I know they did not startle the Christian church as anything heretical; for until some time after I came to Oberlin I never heard the question of the truth of those sermons raised in any quarter. But about this time the question of Christian perfection in the Antinomian sense of the term, came to be agitated a good deal at New Haven, at Albany, and somewhat in New York City. I examined their views. I read and examined pretty thoroughly their periodical entitled, "The Perfectionist." But I could not accept their peculiar views. Yet I was satisfied that the doctrine of sanctification in this life, and entire sanctification in the sense that it was the privilege of Christians to live without known sin, was a doctrine taught in the Bible, and that abundant means were provided for the securing of that attainment.
The last winter that I spent in New York the Lord was pleased to visit my soul with a great refreshing. After a season of great searching of heart He brought me, as He has often done, into a large place, and gave me much of that divine sweetness in my soul of which President Edwards speaks as an experience of his own soul. That winter I had a thorough breaking up, so much so that sometimes for a considerable period I could not refrain from loud weeping in view of my own sins, and of the love of God in Christ. Such seasons were frequent that winter, and resulted in the great renewal of my spiritual strength, and enlargement of my views in regard to the privileges of Christians and the abundance of the grace of God. It is well-known that my own views on the subject of sanctification have been the subject of a good deal of criticism.
To be faithful to history I must say some things that I would otherwise pass by in silence. This college was established by Mr. Shipherd very much against the feelings and wishes of the men most concerned in building up Hudson College. Mr. Shipherd once informed me that Brother Coe, who was then the principal agent of that college, asserted to him that he would do all he could to put this college down. As soon as they heard at Hudson that I had received a call at Oberlin as professor of theology, the trustees elected me as professor of theology at Hudson; so that I held the two invitations at the same time. I did not, in writing, commit myself to either, but came on to survey the ground and then decide upon the path of duty. That spring the general assembly of the Presbyterian church held their May meeting at Pittsburgh. When I arrived at Cleveland I was informed that two of the professors from Hudson had been waiting at Cleveland for my arrival, designing to have me go first at any rate to Hudson. But I had been delayed on the lake by adverse winds, and the brethren who had been waiting for me at Cleveland had left to be at the opening of the general assembly, and had left word with a brother to see me immediately on my arrival, and by all means to get me to go to Hudson.
But in Cleveland I found a letter awaiting me from Brother Arthur Tappan of New York. He had in some way become acquainted with the fact that strong efforts were making to induce me to go to Hudson rather than to Oberlin. Hudson, at that time, had their buildings and apparatus, and it was already an established college. It had reputation and influence; Oberlin had nothing. It had no public buildings, and was composed of a little colony settled right in the woods; and just beginning to put up their own houses, and clear away the immense forest and make a place for a college. They had, to be sure, their charter, and a few students on the ground; but in comparison with Hudson it was as nothing. This letter of Brother Tappan was written to put me on my guard against supposing that I could be instrumental in securing at Hudson what we desired to secure at Oberlin. I left my family at Cleveland, hired a horse and buggy, and came out to Oberlin without going to Hudson. I thought at least that I would see Oberlin first. When I arrived at Elyria I found some old acquaintances there, whom I had known in central New York. They informed me that the trustees of Hudson thought that if they could secure my presence at Hudson, it would at least in a great measure defeat Oberlin; and that at Hudson there was an Old School influence of sufficient power to compel me to fall in with their views and course of action. This they informed me they had learned from an agent of Hudson who had been at Elyria. This was in precise accordance with the information which I had received from Brother Tappan. I came here and saw that there was nothing to prevent the building up of a college on the principles that seemed to me not only to lie at the foundation of all success in establishing a college here at the west; but on principles of reform such as I knew were dear to the hearts of those who had undertaken the support and building up of Oberlin College. The brethren that were here on the ground were heartily in favor of building up a school on radical principles of reform. I therefore wrote to the trustees of Hudson declining to accept their invitation, and took up my abode at Oberlin. I had nothing ill to say of Hudson, and I knew no ill of it. However the policy seemed to be pursued that had been avowed by Brother Coe, of putting Oberlin College down, or rather keeping it down.
Very soon the cry of Antinomian perfectionism was heard, and this charge brought against us. Letters were written, and ecclesiastical bodies were visited, and much pains taken to represent our views here as entirely heretical. Such representations were made to ecclesiastical bodies throughout the length and breadth of the land, as to lead many of them to pass resolutions warning the churches against the influence of Oberlin theology. There seemed to be a general union of ministerial influence against us. We understood very well here what had set this on foot, and by what means all this excitement was raised. But we said nothing. We kept still on that subject, and had no controversy with those brethren that we were aware were taking pains to raise such a powerful public sentiment against us. I may not enter into particulars, but suffice it to say that the weapons that were thus taken to put us down reacted upon themselves most disastrously, and finally resulted in a change of nearly all the members of the faculty at Hudson, and the general management of the college fell into other hands. I scarcely ever heard anything said here at that time against Hudson, or at any time. We kept about our own business, and felt that in respect to opposition from that quarter our strength was to sit still; and we were not mistaken. We felt confident that it was not God's plan to suffer such kind of opposition to prevail. I wish to be distinctly understood, that I am not at all aware that any of the present leaders and managers of that college have sympathized with what was at that time done, or that they so much as know the course that was then taken.
I have often been asked what it was that stirred such an excitement all at once on the subject of sanctification; and what it was that led people to regard my views on that subject as heretical after I came here, when my views on that subject had been fully known and published in the city of New York, and circulated in the New York Evangelist, before this talk about our being Antinomian perfectionists was heard of.
The ministers far and near carried their opposition a great ways. At that time a convention was called to meet at Cleveland, to consider the subject of western education, and the support of western colleges. The call had been so worded that we went out from here, expecting to take part in the proceedings of the convention. When we arrived there we found Dr. Beecher on the ground; and soon saw that a course of proceedings was on foot to shut out Oberlin brethren, and those that sympathized with Oberlin, from the convention. I was therefore not allowed a seat in the convention as a member, yet I attended several of its sessions before I came home. I recollect hearing it distinctly said by one of the ministers, a Mr. Lathrop, who was then, or had been, pastor of the church at Elyria, I think, that he regarded Oberlin doctrines and influence as worse than those of Roman Catholicism. That speech was a representative one, and seemed to be about the view that was entertained by that body. I do not mean by all of them, by any means. Some of our students, who had been educated here in theology, were so related to the churches and the convention, that they were admitted to seats in that body as they had come there from different parts of the country. These were very outspoken upon the principles and practices of Oberlin, so far as they were called in question. The object of the convention evidently was to hedge in Oberlin on every side, and crush us by a public sentiment that would refuse us all support. But let me be distinctly understood to say, that I do not in the least degree blame the members of that convention, or but very few of them; for I knew that they had been misled, and were acting under an entire misapprehension of the facts. Dr. L. Beecher was the leading spirit in that convention.
The policy that we pursued here was to let the opposition alone. We kept about our own business, and always had as many students as we knew what to do with. Our hands were always full of labor, and we were always greatly encouraged in our efforts. A few years after the meeting of this convention, one of the leading ministers who was there came and spent a day or two at our house. He said to me among other things: "Brother Finney, Oberlin is to us a great wonder." Said he, "I have for many years been connected with a college as one of its professors. College life and principles, and the conditions upon which colleges are built up, are very familiar to me. We have always thought," said he, "speaking of colleges, that colleges could not exist unless they were patronized by the ministry. We knew that young men who were about to go to college would generally consult their pastors in regard to what colleges they should go to; and generally young men that wished to go to college did so in accordance with their views. Now," said he, "the ministers almost universally arrayed themselves against Oberlin. They were deceived by the cry of Antinomian perfectionism, and in respect to your views of reform; and ecclesiastical bodies united, far and near, Congregational, and Presbyterian, and of all denominations. They warned their churches against you, they discouraged young men universally, if consulted, from coming here; and still the Lord has built you up. You have been supported with funds better than almost any college in the land; you have had by far more students than any other college in the west, or even in the east; and the blessing of God has been upon you, so that your success has been wonderful. Now," said he, "this is a perfect anomaly in the history of colleges. The opposers of Oberlin have been confounded, and God has stood by you and sustained you through all this opposition, so that you have hardly felt it."
It is difficult now for people to realize the opposition that we met with when we first established this college. As an illustration of it, and as a representative case, I will relate a laughable fact that occurred about the time of which I am speaking. I had occasion to go to Akron, Summit Co., to preach on the Sabbath. I went with a horse and buggy. On my way, beyond the village of Medina, I observed in the road before me a lady walking with a little bundle in her hand. As I drew near her I observed it was an elderly lady nicely dressed, but walking, as I thought, with some difficulty on account of her age. As I came up to her I reined up my horse, and asked her how far she was going on that road. She told me; and I then asked if she would accept a seat in my buggy and ride. "O," she replied, "I should be very thankful for a ride, for I find I have undertaken too long a walk"; and then explained how she came to undertake so long a walk. I helped her into my buggy, and then took a seat beside her and drove on. I found her a very intelligent elderly lady, and very free and home-like in her conversation. After riding for some distance she asked, "May I ask to whom I am indebted for this ride?" I told her who I was. She then inquired from whence I came. I told her I was from Oberlin. This announcement startled her. She made a motion as if she would sit as far from me as she could; and turning and looking earnestly at me, she said, "From Oberlin! why," said she, "our minister said he would just as soon send a son to state prison as to Oberlin!" Of course I smiled and soothed the old lady's fears, if she had any; and made her understand she was in no danger from me. I relate this simply as an illustration of the spirit that prevailed very extensively when this college was first established. Misrepresentations and misapprehensions abounded on every side, and these misapprehensions extended into almost every corner of the United States.
However there was a great number of laymen, and no inconsiderable number of ministers on the whole, in different parts of the country, that had no confidence in this opposition, who sympathized with our aims, our views, our efforts, and who stood firmly by us through thick and thin; and knowing, as they did, the straitness to which, for the time, we were reduced because of this opposition, they gave their money and their influence freely to help us forward. I have spoken of Brother Chapin of Providence, as having for several years sent me six hundred dollars a year on which to support my family. When he had done it as long as he thought it his duty--which he did, indeed, until financial difficulties rendered it inconvenient for him longer to do so--Brother Willard Sears of Boston took his place, and for several years suffered me to draw on him for the same amount annually that Mr. Chapin had paid. In the meantime efforts were constantly made to sustain the other members of the faculty; and by the grace of God we rode out the gale. After a few years the panic in a measure subsided.
President Mahan, Professor Cowles, Professor Morgan, and myself, published on the subject of sanctification. We established a periodical, "The Oberlin Evangelist," and afterwards, "The Oberlin Quarterly," in which we disabused the public in a great measure in regard to what our real views were. In 1846 I published two volumes on systematic theology; and in this work I discussed the subject of entire sanctification more at large. After this work was published, it was reviewed by a committee of the presbytery of Troy, N.Y. To this review I replied, and heard no more criticism from that quarter. Then Dr. Hodge of Princeton published in the Biblical Repertory a lengthy criticism upon my theology. This was from the Old School standpoint. I replied, and heard no more from that quarter. Then Dr. Duffield, of the New School Presbyterian church living at Detroit, reviewed me professedly from the New School standpoint, though his review was far enough from consistent New Schoolism. However, to this I replied; since which, criticisms upon our theology here have not met my eye that I recollect--that is, nothing has been said, so far as I know, impugning our orthodoxy. My replies are published as an appendix to the English edition of my Theology.
I have thus far narrated the principal facts connected with the establishment and struggles of our school here so far as I have been concerned with them. And being the professor of theology, the theological opposition was directed, of course, principally toward myself, which has led me of necessity to speak more freely of my relations to it all than I otherwise should have done. But let me not be misunderstood. I am not contending that the brethren who thus opposed were wicked in their opposition. No doubt the great mass of them were really misled, and acted according to their views of right as they then understood it. I must say for the honor of the grace of God, that none of the opposition that we met with ruffled our spirits here, or disturbed us in such a sense as to provoke us into a spirit of controversy or ill feeling, that I am aware of. We were well aware of the pains that had been taken to lead to these misapprehensions, and could easily understand how it was that we were opposed in the spirit and manner in which we were assailed.
During these years of smoke and dust of misapprehension and opposition from without, the Lord was blessing us richly within. We not only prospered in our own souls here as a church, but we had a continuous revival. It varied in its strength and power at different times; but we were at no time in a state that would not have been regarded as a revival state in any other place than this. Our students were converted by scores from year to year, and the Lord overshadowed us continually with the cloud of his mercy. Gales of divine influence swept over us from year to year, leaving us His fruits among us abundantly of love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, temperance, goodness, faith. I have always attributed our success in this good work entirely to the grace of God. It was not wisdom or goodness of our own that has achieved this success. Nothing but continued divine influence pervading the community, sustained us under our trials, and kept us in an attitude of mind in which we could be efficient in the work we had undertaken. We have always felt that if the Lord forsook us by His Spirit, no outward circumstances could make us truly prosperous. We have had trials amongst ourselves. Frequent subjects of public discussion have come up; and we have frequently spent days, and even weeks, in discussing great questions of duty and expediency on which we have not thought alike. But these questions have none of them permanently divided us. Our principle has been to accord to each other the right of private judgment. We have generally come to a substantial agreement on subjects upon which we have differed; and when we have found ourselves unable to see alike, the minority have submitted themselves to the judgment of the majority, and the idea of rending the church to pieces because in some things we could not see alike has never been entertained by us. We have to a very great extent preserved "the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace"; and perhaps no community has existed for such a length of time, and passed through such trials and changes as we have, that has on the whole preserved a greater Spirit of unity, Christian forbearance, and brotherly love.
When the question of entire sanctification first came up here for public discussion, and when the subject first attracted the general attention of the church, we were in the midst of a powerful revival. When the revival was going on hopefully, one day President Mahan had been preaching a searching discourse. I observed in the course of his preaching that he had left one point untouched, that appeared to me of great importance in that connection. He would often ask me when he closed his sermon if I had any remarks to make, and he did on this occasion. I arose and pressed the point that he had omitted. It was the distinction between desire and will. From the course of thought he had presented, and from the attitude in which I saw that the congregation was at the time, I saw, or thought I saw, that the pressing of that distinction just at that point would throw much light upon the question whether they were really Christians or not, whether they were really consecrated persons, or whether they merely had desires without being in fact willing to do the will of God. When this distinction was made clear just in that connection, I recollect the Holy Spirit fell upon the congregation in a most remarkable manner. A large number of persons dropped down their heads, and some of them groaned so that they could be heard all over the house. It cut up the false hopes of deceived professors on every side. Several of them arose on the spot, and said that they had been deceived, and that they could see wherein; and this was carried to such an extent as greatly astonished me, and indeed produced a general feeling of astonishment, I think, in the congregation. However, it was reality, and very plainly a revelation of the state of the heart of the people made by the Spirit of God.
The work went on with power; and old professors either obtained a new hope or were reconverted in such numbers, that a very great and important change came over the whole community. President Mahan had been greatly blessed among others, with some of our professors. Brother Mahan came manifestly into an entirely new form of Christian experience at that time. In a meeting a few days after this, one of our theological students arose and put the inquiry, whether the Gospel did not provide for Christians all the conditions of an established faith, and hope, and love; whether there was not something better and higher than Christians had generally experienced; in short, whether sanctification was not attainable in this life, that is sanctification in such a sense that Christians could have unbroken peace, and not come into condemnation, or have the feeling of condemnation or a consciousness of sin. Brother Mahan immediately answered, "Yes." What occurred at this meeting brought the question of sanctification prominently before us as a practical question. We had no theories on the subject, no philosophy to maintain, but simply took it up as a Bible question. In this form it existed amongst us as an experimental truth, which we did not attempt to reduce to a theological formula, nor did we attempt to explain its philosophy until years afterwards. But the discussion and settling of this question here was a great blessing to us, and to a great number of our students who are now scattered in various parts of the United States, and in missionary stations in different parts of the world.
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