on the



Rev. Charles G. Finney


Oberlin, Ohio

Edward J. Goodrich

Copyright 1891



THE continued interest manifested by the Christian public in the sermons of President Finney, which were first published now nearly sixty years ago, bears testimony to the vigour of his reasoning and to the grace and unction of his expression. During this century at least, he has had no equal as an interpreter and preacher of the Gospel. The audiences which he moved and guided to the acceptance of the truth, always included many persons of the highest intellectual order. So clear was his conception of the truth, that he was unable to utter an obscure sentence. So profound was his conviction of the justice and love of God, and of the unreasonableness and folly of sin, that he could not but speak with inspiring eloquence when beseeching men to be reconciled to their Lord and Saviour.

Many of the sermons collected in this volume we remember to have heard from the preacher's own lips. It is, of course, impossible through the medium of the printed page to reproduce all the marvelous power attending the sermons in their original delivery. But Professor Cowles was a sympathetic reporter, and had had long practice in writing out the discourses of the great preacher he so much admired, and thus was able to present a remarkably correct report. As an additional guarantee of faithful representation, the reports were read by Professor Cowles to President Finney before their original publication in the Oberlin Evangelist, and so have upon them the stamp of the preacher's own approval.

The sermons of the present volume were selected by Professor Cowles and arranged for publication before his death, and they are now given to the public under the conviction that they present with unrivalled clearness phases of truth in need of special emphasis at the present time, and that they have permanent value both as models for the preacher and as sound philosophical discussions of many of the central themes of the Gospel. President Finney had the rare ability of so interpreting the divine plan of salvation as at once to instruct the theologian and to bring its moving thoughts to bear with all their power upon the hearts of the common people. We rejoice in the larger circulation which the present form of publication will give to this selection of sermons. Through the columns of the Oberlin Evangelist they reached a highly appreciative circle of readers in their day. It augurs well that in their present form they are likely to reach many thousand more, and to have a larger share in moulding the theological thought of the present generation.


OBERLIN, OHIO, September, 1891.

[The original sermons from the Oberlin Evangelist are referred to in the links below.--Ed.]


The Rule by Which the Guilt of Sin is Estimated--February 4, 1846

The Self-Hardening Sinner's Doom--May 9, 1849

The Loss When a Soul is Lost--July 2, 1851

God's Anger Against the Wicked--January 31, 1849

Men Invited To Reason Together With God. --May 11, 1853

Conscience And The Bible In Harmony. --June 6, 1855

Salvation Difficult To The Christian--Impossible To The Sinner --September 15, 1852

The Salvation Of Sinners Impossible --September 29, 1852

Any One Form of Sin Persisted In Is Fatal To The Soul--September 11, 1861

The Wrath of God Against Those Who Withstand His Truth--December 9, 1857

The Doom of Those Who Neglect The Great Salvation --January 20, 1858

All Things for Good to Those That Love God --July 7, 1852

All Things Conspire for Evil to The Sinner--July 21, 1852

God Has No Pleasure In The Sinner's Death--June 20, 1855

The Rich Man And Lazarus--November 9, 1853

The Wants Of Man And Their Supply --July 19, 1854

On Believing with The Heart--December 3, 1856

On Being Holy--September 2, 1857

On Self-Denial--April 27, 1859

On Following Christ--June 9, 1858

Conditions Of Prevailing Prayer--June 9, 1847

An Approving Heart--Confidence In Prayer --March 3, 1847

On Praying Always--January 3, 1855  

On Prayer For The Holy Spirit --May 23, 1855

Afflictions Of The Righteous And The Wicked Contrasted--June 24, 1846