To John Keep

14 February 1853


[Transcription in Fletcher Papers, Oberlin College Archives, of original MS in Keep Papers in possession of Mrs. Geo. M. Clark.]


Syracuse 14 Feb. 1853.

Dear Bro. Keep.

I recd. a letter from you some time ago & have had my hands so entirely full as to have delayed answering until now. It is common for me to be obliged to write _ a dozzen letters at a setting, and this together with my crushing & constantly increasing labours here uses me up pretty fast. But you know full well that I don't neglect you because I don't love you, but when I seem to neglect to write you it is either because I have nothing that will interest you, or that I have not time to do so. You are perhaps, in part aware of the awful state of things that has existed here in a religious point of view. I had supposed it bad enough but after all had no adequate conception of it. The farther I dig into the wall the more abominations do I discover. Upon this city has been concentrated on the one hand Gerrit Smith's Garrison's, Goodell's, Beria Green's, Foster's & all that kind of influence mingled & compounded with infidelity around, and with universalism around, & unitarianism professed but truly universalism Womans rights conventions of the infidel school but all mixed up with apostates from Christianity & those who profess religion still. These on the one hand & the natural result a miserable conservatism on the other had in their action & reaction brought on a total loss of confidence in the fundamental truths of christianity & of the xtian system & especially in revival efforts & in revivals themselves. All had been done that it would seem the devil could wish to baricade this city against the gospel as we hold & preach it. For these reasons I made up my mind to stop here. At first people would not go to the Con. Church. Nearly all were afraid of Oberlin. But the work has gone on in spite of all opposition & prejudice. Our meetings have been removed to the 2nd Pres. church the 2nd largest power in the city. during the week, & in the first P M. on Sabbath evenings. Houses full - Interest daily deepening & extending. Preached mostly we think to professed christians, for the city swarms with backsliders & apostates. Many of them are reclaimed and many converted who had been deceived. Some wonderful baptisms of the Holy Spirit filling the sabbath with glory. Prejudice seems to be fast subsiding & the work bids fair, if nothing is alowed to disturb its progress, to make a thorough success. I have only occasionally preached to the confessedly unconverted. But when I have my stroke has took effect. The number of signers amounts to several hundreds & there are many expressing hope among those who have been outsiders. Br Keep the devil has had much to do with the reform movement in this region. Nay he has taken this tack, has turned reformer & as he sometimes does in revivals of religion, he has poured out his spirit to confound it with the spirit of God. Many are living to see it. God bless you my brother. Wife unites in much love to Br & Sister Keep

Your br C. G. Finney.

P.S. From some things Br. Hudson said to me when here I think he must have met with something of what I have met so much, of a spirit of sheer infidel reform. A compounding of Parkerism, Mayism, Davisism. Spirit Rappings and all such stuff with true religion. I hear that Lucy Stone has become a skeptic, & I fear Antoinette Brown will do the same. Sarah Pellett is here. I think she is as yet sound, but O the conservatism of the churches & ministers at large & the spurious benevolence of Parkerism & universalism, the infidel character of the reform movements in this region, are sad trials to those young ardent minds. The Lord preserve his dear children. There is a manifest restlessness felt all through this region & a feeling that something must be done & is going to be done. I am constantly pressed to go in every direction. But I must not leave here at present. The 3 principal churches are without pastors or supplies, & confident I am that the Lord does not intend they shall have ministers, until they are prepared to agree upon souls as they must. I have told them this. It is in this & in many respects a wonderful state of things here. Surely I need Divine wisdom to direct me. "The Lord has opened to me an effectual door, but as yet there are many adversaries." I am prepared to leave for Rochester but can not go. A general prayer meeting at 10 every morning. Female, largely attended, every day at 2_ P. M. I preach 6 times a week. My health has been good but of late I have the vertigo in my head, of which wife complained some weeks since. But less rather than more of that. This is not for publication. Br. Cowles may say that the work is extending daily.

C. G. Finney


P.S. Christians are anxious to hear about sanctification. Are struggling after a higher life, & some are making wonderful progress.


This word was probably "enquirers" in the original.

Theodore Parker.

Samuel J. May

Andrew Jackson Davis.