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«Memoirs of Rev. Charles G. Finney Also Known as Memoirs of Revivals of Religion By Rev. Charles G. Finney Table of Contents Title Page Preface ...»

-- [ Page 1 ] --

Memoirs of Rev. Charles G. Finney

Also Known as Memoirs of Revivals of Religion

By Rev. Charles G. Finney

Table of Contents

Title Page

Preface

Chapter 1 BIRTH AND EARLY EDUCATION.

Purpose of the Author -- Birth and early circumstances -- Want of religious

privileges -- Entering upon the study of law -- First interest in religion -Questionings on the subject of prayer.

Chapter 2 CONVERSION TO CHRIST.

Decision to attend to religion -- Spiritual conflict, and the triumph -Baptism of the Spirit -- Sense of justification.

Chapter 3 BEGINNING OF HIS WORK.

A retainer from the Lord Jesus Christ -- Call to preach -- Conversation with neighbors -- Evening meeting -- Revival in the village -- Visit at his father's

-- Deacon M-- at the monthly concert -- Conversion of Squire W--. -Morning prayer-meeting -- Great light -- Fasting and prayer -- Experience of the burden of prayer.

Chapter 4 HIS DOCTRINAL EDUCATION AND OTHER EXPERIENCES AT ADAMS.

Discussion on the atonement -- Revival revived -- Further discussion -Encouragement from Elder H--. -- Lectures on Universalism -- Licensed by presbytery -- Father Nash -- Review of Mr. Gale's theology.

Chapter 5 PREACHING AS A MISSIONARY.

Labor at Evans' Mills -- The people pledged -- Experience of Miss G--. -The railer's death -- The false hope -- The Universalist subdued -- Father Nash's transformation -- Mr. D--'s conversion.

Chapter 6 REVIVAL AT EVANS' MILLS AND ITS RESULTS.

The German church -- Meeting for inquirers -- Taught to read -- Moving scene -- Habit of testifying in prayer-meeting -- Style of preaching -Preaching at presbytery.

Chapter 7 REMARKS UPON MINISTERIAL EDUCATION.

The judge's view -- Criticisms of ministers -- The preacher's aim -- Danger in the schools -- Advantages of extemporaneous preaching -- Manner of preparation -- Fac-simile of skeleton.

Chapter 8 REVIVAL AT ANTWERP.

Impression of the place -- Prayer on Saturday -- Plain preaching on Sabbath

-- Scene at Sodom -- Preaching to the Universalists -- Sermon on election -Cure of insane woman.

Chapter 9 RETURN TO EVANS' MILLS.

Author's marriage -- Return to his work -- Winter at Brownville -Conversion of Mrs. B--. -- Attempt to return for his wife -- Stopped at Le Rayville -- Premonition of a work at Gouverneur -- The vain young woman converted.

Chapter 10 REVIVAL AT GOUVERNEUR.

Ride in the rain -- Discussion with Dr. S--. -- Opposition of young men -Father Nash's announcement -- Conversion of Mr. S--. -- Opposition of Baptists -- Discussion of Baptism -- Aunt Lucy's relief -- Conversion of Mr.

M--.

Chapter 11 REVIVAL AT DE KALB.

–  –  –

Remarkable inquiry meeting -- Great interest -- Little H-- and her father -Death of a reviler -- Conversion of Mr. H--. -- Visit of Sheriff B--. -- The spirit of prayer -- Conversion of the officer's wife -- Conversion of Mrs. G--.

Chapter 14 REVIVAL AT UTICA Abundant prayer -- Conversion of Sheriff B--. -- The Lowville merchant -Beginning of opposition -- Mr. Weeks' doctrines -- Sudden death of the minister -- Conversion of Miss F--T--. -- Scene in the factory -- Conversion of T. D. Weld -- False teaching.

Chapter 15 REVIVAL AT AUBURN IN 1826.

Further opposition -- Victory in prayer -- Dr. S--'s new baptism -Conversion of Mr. H--. -- Division of the congregation -- Dr. Lansing's painful experience -- Public confession.

Chapter 16 REVIVAL AT TROY, AND AT NEW LEBANON.

Visit to Dr. Nettleton -- Influence of the opposition -- Dr. Beman before presbytery -- Conversion of Judge C--'s father -- Conversion of Miss S--. -The work at New Lebanon -- Conversion of Dr. W--, of Mr. T--, and of John T. Avery -- Committee of presbytery -- New Lebanon Convention -- Notice of Dr. Beecher's Biography -- Remarks on Revivals.

Chapter 17 REVIVAL IN STEPHENTOWN.

Anxiety of Miss S--. -- Election evening -- Family of Judge P--, and of Mr.

M--. -- Death of Mr. B--. -- Influence of Miss S--.

Chapter 18 REVIVALS AT WILMINGTON AND PHILADELPHIA.

Mr. Gilbert -- New School preaching and its effect -- Beginning in Philadelphia -- Theology at Philadelphia -- Hopkinsianism -- Conversion of a desperate man -- Of a despairing young woman -- Fondness for dress -Interest among the lumbermen -- Mr. Patterson.

Chapter 19 REVIVAL AT READING, PENNSYLVANIA.

Unsound teaching -- Arrangement for balls -- Inquiry meeting -- Death of Dr. Greer -- Conviction of Mr. B--. -- False counsel to inquirers -Conversion of Mr. O B--. -- His death -- Preaching to the editors -- Labor at Lancaster -- Conversion of Elder K--. -- Fatal delay.

Chapter 20 REVIVALS IN COLUMBIA, AND IN NEW YORK CITY.

Account of Mr. H--. -- Reorganization of his church -- Invitation to New York -- Anson O. Phelps -- Diligence of a young woman in restitution -Conversion of Lewis Tappan -- The first Free Presbyterian church.

Chapter 21 REVIVAL IN ROCHESTER, 1830.

Selection of a field -- Adjustment of differences -- Conversion of Mrs. M--.

-- "The Anxious Seat" -- Panic in church -- Work in the High School -Conversion of the merchant and his wife -- Conversion of Mr. P--. -- The burden of prayer -- Effect upon the morals of the city -- Effect abroad.

Chapter 22 REVIVALS IN AUBURN, BUFFALO, PROVIDENCE AND BOSTON.





Leaving Rochester -- Rest at Auburn, and remarkable invitation -- Abel Clary -- Six weeks' labor -- A month in Buffalo -- Conversion of Mr. H--. -Three weeks in Providence -- Conversion of Miss A--. -- Invitation to Boston -- Sensitiveness of the people -- Giving up all to God -- Orthodoxy questioned -- Proposal from New York.

Chapter 23 LABORS IN NEW YORK CITY IN 1832, AND ONWARD.

Chatham street theatre -- Installation -- The Cholera -- The revival -Diligence of the membership -- Conversion of Mr. H--. -- The free Presbyterian churches -- Organization of a Congregational church -Broadway Tabernacle -- Voyage to the Mediterranean -- A day of prayer at sea -- The New York Evangelist -- Excitement on slavery -- Revival Lectures -- Invitation to Oberlin -- Decision.

Chapter 24 EARLY LABORS IN OBERLIN.

The tent -- Financial failure -- Hostility of the surrounding region -Embassy to England -- Providential supply -- Lectures to Christians in New York -- Relations to Western Reserve College -- Theological prejudice -Popular idea of Oberlin -- Spiritual progress at home.

OBERLIN "LYNCHING" Chapter 25 LABORS IN BOSTON AND PROVIDENCE.

General excitement upon slavery -- Marlborough chapel -- A few weeks' preaching in Boston -- Call to Providence -- Two months,['] labor there -Interest of Rev. Dr. C--.

Chapter 26 THE REVIVAL IN ROCHESTER IN 1842.

Rest in Rochester, and invitation to preach -- Lawyers' request for a course of Lectures -- Judge G--'s conversion -- Pastor of St. Luke's -- The quitclaim deed -- Doctrines preached -- Interest in lawyers -- Chronic skepticism

-- Mr. W-- the priest.

Chapter 27 ANOTHER WINTER IN BOSTON.

Second-Adventism -- The church in Marlborough Chapel -- A false prophet

-- A chapter of personal experience -- A new consecration -- Experiences in connection with the death of Mrs. F--. -- Experiences not appreciated -Need in Boston.

Chapter 28 FIRST VISIT TO ENGLAND.

Mr. Potto Brown and his religious enterprises -- Invitation to England -Labors in Houghton -- Invitation to Birmingham -- Interview at Mr. James'

-- Close Communion -- Theology and Dr. Redford -- Interesting letter -Preaching at Worcester -- Invitation to London -- Dr. Campbell and the Tabernacle.

Chapter 29 LABORS IN THE TABERNACLE, MOORFIELDS, LONDON.

First inquiry meeting -- Large attendance -- Visit at the British school-room

-- Definite aim in preaching -- The borrowed sermon -- Interest in Episcopal churches -- A tea-meeting for poor women -- Visit to France -- Embarking for home.

Chapter 30 LABORS IN HARTFORD AND IN SYRACUSE.

Brief labor in New York -- Invitation to Hartford -- Difficulty of coöperation among the pastors, adjusted -- Timidity in regard to measures -- Prayermeetings among converts -- Organized effort -- The churches in Syracuse -Coöperation of Christians -- Interesting communion -- Mrs. C--'s new baptism -- Ladies' meetings -- "Taking up the Cross" -- Mother Austin's faith.

Chapter 31 LABORS IN WESTERN AND IN ROME, 1854-5.

Case of crime -- Confession and restitution -- Conversion of the schoolteacher -- Preaching at Rome -- Distraction in the church.

Chapter 32 REVIVAL IN ROCHESTER IN 1855.

Pressing invitation -- Preaching to the lawyers -- Prevailing interest -- The University -- Zeal of the ladies -- Ingenuous spirit -- Restrictions in New England.

Chapter 33 REVIVALS IN BOSTON IN 1856-57-58.

The pastor's renewal -- Divided feeling -- Establishment of prayer-meetings

-- The South -- Conversion of Mrs. M--.

Chapter 34 SECOND VISIT TO ENGLAND.

Labors at St. Ives -- Borough Road chapel -- Church distraction and regeneration -- Theological apprehensions -- Reasoning in the pulpit -Labors at Huntington -- Family of Dr. F--.

Chapter 35 LABORS IN ENGLAND AND SCOTLAND.

Preaching in Edinburgh -- The E. U. Church -- The ladies' prayer-meeting -Preaching in Aberdeen -- Circumscribing prejudice -- Going to Bolton, England -- First evening at Bolton -- The week of prayer -- Co-operation of denominations -- Canvassing the city -- A more quiet manner -- Work in Mr.

B--'s mill -- Cases of restitution -- Conversion of the miserly mill-owner -Labors in Manchester -- Want of co-operation -- Return home.

Chapter 36 WORK AT HOME.

–  –  –

In giving it to the public, it is manifestly necessary to present it essentially as we find it. No liberties can be taken with it, to modify views or statements which may sometimes seem extreme or partial, or even to subdue a style, which, though rugged at times, is always dramatic and forcible. Few men have better earned the right to utter their own thoughts, in their own words. These thoughts and words are what the many friends of Mr. Finney will desire. The only changes that seemed allowable, were occasional omissions, to avoid unnecessary repetition, or too minute detail, or, at times, references that might seem too distinctly personal. The narrative is, in its very nature, personal, involving the experiences both of the author and of those with whom he had to do; and to these personal experiences it, in great part, owes its interest and its value. As the narrative presents the memories and heart-yearnings of a veteran pastor, with a passion for winning souls, it is hoped and believed that, in its personal references, it will not be regarded as having transcended the limits of Christian propriety. For the most part, the lapse of time sets aside all question.

Here and there perhaps, the statements in the narrative may seem inadequate, as involving only a partial view of facts. It will be remembered that such partial views belong to all personal observation and opinion, and each one will naturally supply the correction that seems to be demanded.

–  –  –

BIRTH AND EARLY EDUCATION

IT has pleased God in some measure to connect my name and labors with an extensive movement of the church of Christ, regarded by some as a new era in its progress, especially in relation to revivals of religion. As this movement involved, to a considerable extent, the development of views of Christian doctrine which had not been common, and was brought about by changes in the means of carrying forward the work of evangelization, it was very natural that some misapprehension should prevail in regard to these modified statements of doctrine, and the use of these measures; and consequently that, to some extent, even good men should call in question the wisdom of these measures and the soundness of these theological statements; and that ungodly men should be irritated, and for a time should strenuously oppose these great movements.

I have spoken of myself as connected with these movements; but only as one of the many ministers and other servants of Christ, who have shared prominently in promoting them. I am aware that by a certain portion of the church I have been considered an innovator, both in regard to doctrine and measures; and that many have looked upon me as rather prominent, especially in assailing some of the old forms of theological thought and expression, and in stating the doctrines of the Gospel in many respects in new language.

I have been particularly importuned, for a number of years, by the friends of those revivals with which my name and labors have been connected, to write a history of them. As so much misapprehension has prevailed respecting them, it is thought that the truth of history demands a statement from myself of the doctrines that were preached, so far as I was concerned; of the measures used, and of the results of preaching those doctrines and the use of those measures.

My mind seems instinctively to recoil from saying so much of myself as I shall be obliged to do, if I speak honestly of those revivals and of my relation to them. For this reason I have declined, up to this time, to undertake such a work. Of late the trustees of Oberlin College have laid the matter before me, and urged me to undertake it. They, together with numerous other friends in this country and in England, have urged that it was due to the cause of Christ, that a better understanding should exist in the church than has hitherto existed, in regard especially to the revivals that occurred in central New York and elsewhere, from 1821 and onward for several years, because those revivals have been most misrepresented and opposed.

I approach the subject, I must say, with reluctance, for many reasons. I have kept no diary, and consequently must depend on my memory. It is true, that my memory is naturally very tenacious, and the events that I have witnessed in revivals of religion have made a very deep impression on my mind; and I remember, with great distinctness, many more than I shall have time to communicate. Everyone who has witnessed powerful revivals of religion is aware that many cases of conviction and conversion are daily occurring, of the greatest interest to the people in the midst of whom they occur.



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