The GOSPEL TRUTH
CHARLES G. FINNEY
To Potto Brown
1 October 1857
[MS in Goodman Family Papers]
Oberlin College, Ohio. United States.
1st Oct. 1857.
My Dear Brother Brown.
It has been a long time since I have heard
direct from you or have written you. My time as usual has been
intensely packed with duties & responsibilities, & hence, having nothing
very definite to write that would immediately interest you, I have
delayed to write. But since some friends are going from here
direct, I send an open letter by them, with the request that
they will deliver it to you. We have been, for the last year,our dear
friend Captain Moody, from England, to visit us. He has set
several times to come, but has been providentially prevented.
We have intended that his comming should be the occasion
upon which we would decide whether or not to go to Englang.
But he has not come, & probably will not. although we still
expect him daily. His children, i.e. two daughters & son in law,
expect to start for England next week. The capt last wrote that
he may arrive after they have left America. But the prob
abilities now are that he will not come this year, if at all.
It has been, & is in our hearts to visit England again, &
had we not expected Capt. M. & defered our decision until
now, we might have been with you this fall. But as it is
we shall not go over, unless some new intelligence is recd that shall
enable us to make up our minds. Our labors are abundantly
needed & called for on this side, & both the cities of New York
& Boston, with many other important filelds, are pressing their
claims & necessities upon us as fields of spiritual labor. But
still our minds are strongly drawn to England. We can not
tell why unless we ascribe it to the Spirit of the Lord.
You have, I suppose, heard of the out pouring of God's
Spirit in Rochester & Boston & many other places the last
two winters. These revivals have been glorious & their daily prayer-
meetings are still continued. Several churches in Boston are
uniting to hold a circle of religious meetings the coming winter
as we did last winter, only on a more extended scale.
We recd letters to this effect yesterday. It is probably that we shall
spend another winter i.e. the next, in Boston. It may be that
we shall go to N.York or elsewhere. We can not say to which
of the inviting fields we shall conclude to go. So much are
our hearts drawn to England, (& we feel alike on this subject)
that if we knew that the doors were open there, I think we
should go there in preference to going elsewhere.
We have seen most wonderful revivals the last two years especially.
The work of the Lord connected with our college has always been
highly interesting. We have at present an unusually large number
of students in attendance, & a work of convicting grace is
going on among them with solemn interest. The Lord has
wonderfully blessed our efforts, (I mean the efforts of his people)
in connection with this college. There has been a continuous
outpouring of Divine influence upon this place since its
first foundations were laid.
Mrs. Finney got overdone last winter & has not had
her usual strength the last summer. She thinks a sea voyage
& an English climate & regimen, would do her good. She is
about & busy as usual. But has not her former power of
indurance. She thinks she shall be able to labor as usual
the coming winter. We think & speak of you very often
& wish we were at Br. Browns.
How is Br. Harcourt doing in London? We have not heard
from him in a long time. It is possible that we may see our way
clear to leave Oberlin & go to England during the winter or in
the spring. Should we spend the winter in Boston or New York
or Philadelphia, or Providence or elsewhere, & get fatigued as
we always are, we may go to England in the spring instead
of returning to our labors here. A sea voyage & a few weeks
spent among our friends in England, would probably put
us in strength for a new effort & we might begin wherever the
field are ready for harvest. We hear with the greatest
interest of the movement among the Episcopalians, Methodists
Baptists &c. to convert souls to God. But we hear of no special
movements among the independents. How is this? Why do they
not make special efforts with other denominations.
We beseech you Br. Brown, to see if you can not do something
to stir up the Independents to move in this matter, &
unite their efforts to save the souls of the masses.
What! shall it be said that at such a time as this, that
body of christians are making no special movement.
They may be doing more than we are aware of on this side.
I shall write Dr. Campbell soon. D.V. & ask him what
the Independents are doing. Give a great deal of love from
both myself & wife to all your dear family. To the Goodmans
& Tebuts's & to all the dear brethren & sisters in Houghton
& elsewhere who may inquire after us. Give our love also to Br.
Harcourt & Hart & Burton &c. &c. God bless you & them & all
your dear friends. Do my Br. let us hear from you
without delay. Mrs F. is filled with company & can not
write at present. She sends abundant love to all.
Your Br. C. G. Finney.
P.S. I will send this by mail as it will reach you
sooner. Do you get my letters post paid. I always pay
but fear that the Post Masters do not always give
credit. If you get any one unpaid you may know
there is fraud & I wish you would send me the
evidence that the postage is not credited.
I wrote you from Boston last winter & watched the
Post office clerk to see if he gave credit on the
envelope I found he did not. C. G. F.
Finney received the following letter from George Cockle:
Copy of my letter to Mr Finney.
Parkers Piece, Cambridge.
August 25th 1858
My dear Sir,
Having lately been on a
visit at St Ives, I one day rode over
to Houghton to pay my respects to
our old friend Mr Potto Brown.
I had hardly been with him five
minutes before he began to pour
forth a lamentation that your letter
to him dated last October, had not
yet been answered; & at the same time
very urgently to request me to write to
you on his behalf & to say something
by way of apology for the long omission.
I must, then, inform you that soon after
the receipt of your letter, Mr Brown was
seized with a long & painful illness, so
severe, that for a time his life was consi-
dered in danger; and when at length the
period of convalescence arrived, then
came the importunities of business,
rendered more urgent by his long
captivity. Thus day after day passed
away till, as he himself told me, he felt
that his negligence had actually made him
ashamed to write at all. It was this un
satisfactory state of things wh, I doubt not,
led him to extort from me a promise that
I wd address a few lines to you at my earliest
I was also to inform you that matters were
going on at Houghton much after the old sort -
that Mr Harcourt had left for London, & Mr
Burton for Birmingham, but that Mr Hart
still remained & was unwearied in his labour of
love - and that it is hoped some good is being
done among the surrounding population. At St Ives
in addition to their own chapel, they have lately
formed a Young Men Xn Assn, & the Public Institution has
been opened for Sabbath evening service. Mrs C & myself
were present a short time & were pleased with
the numbers in attendance. At Fenstanton too they have
had occasion to enlarge their place of worship. How x
[inserted along left margin}
x much both Mr Brown & Harcourt seemed to regret, dear Sir, that
you were not once more in their midst.
[page 3, continued]
Indeed, I firmly believe that the chief
reason why Mr Brown has not written to
you himself is because he was not able
to renew his invitation to you as he wished.
He has felt that it wd be, in the last degree
unreasonable, to invite you to this country
without first raising a few hundred pounds
to meet the loss you must necessarily sus-
tain by any lengthened absence fr Oberlin;
& also he offered to subscribe two hundred
pounds, & a few other friends certain smaller
sums, still his "Appeal" was not responded
to in such a manner as he thought wd at
all justify him in taking such a step -
And besides this, many expressed a doubt
as to the propriety of his getting you over to
to our country just now that a great
revival is going on in your own. -
During the past month a teetotal
meeting was held in Houghton at wh Mr
Gough attended, & the celebrated character
caricaturist Cruickshank took ye chair.
It was truly a monster meeting, for I
think there wd not have been far short
of three thousand persons present. On the
two succeeding days other meetings
were held. Mr Brown seemed all in
his glory. Among his guests were several
of your countrymen, - Mr Horace James,
Mr Gould, & two ladies whose names I
do not recollect.
The friends generally whom you occa-
sionally met at Houghton, are, I believe
tolerably well. Of course you heard of
the death of our amiable young friend
Joseph Goodman. My sister-in-law Mrs Tebbutt
of Bluntisham particularly desired me to
present her love to you & Mrs Finney. Neville
Goodman has lately taken to himself a
wife & now resides at Royston, a few
miles from Cambridge, where he has com-
menced business. I occasionally hear of his
preaching in the neighbourg villages. His
sister Susan was likewise married a
week or two ago. Of Mr Moore I know
but little, he having removed to another
part of the country. The last time I heard
from him he informed me that he & you
were conjointly engaged, or about to do so,
in a work on Psychology, but wh he thought
might require some few years to complete.
I sincerely hope you will not lose sight
of this important undertaking, but
that you will do what you can to expedite
its completion. I am now anxiously awaiting
the publication of Sir Wm Hamilton's posthu-
mous works. - I have often thought and
talked of the many pleasant & profitable
hours wh I was privileged to spend in your
society for which, as well as for ye benefit
I have derived from your valuable wri-
tings, I now offer you my warmest thanks.
- I think you not unfrequently contribute
an article to one of your provincial papers.
Mr Moore, I remember, shewed me a pile
of them. Permit me to say, dear Sir,
how delighted I shd be to receive any
article of a theological of philosophical
character with wh you might favour me
from time to time - And this reminds
me of those very valuable papers on
"the simplicity of moral actions" written by
the late Mr Cochran & inserted in the
Oberlin Review. I never had an oppor-
tunity of reading the whole of them, but
I have long desired [to] do so, & have taken
some pains to procure the numbers
but without success. Even my applica-
tion to the Anerican publishers thro'
Massrs Trubner & Co failed. If therefore
you could at any time kindly
assist me in obtaining possession of
a copy, I shd heartily rejoice and
warmly thank you.
But I see I must not enlarge, as
I have only space enough to add
Mr Brown's kind love to yourself
& Mrs Finney with whom both Mrs
Cockle & myself most cordially unite.
Believe me to be
Yours, my dear Sir,
To Professor Finney
United States -
Finney received a letter from Potto Brown dated 16 June 1856.
Captain John Moody (1802-1872) was a ship's Captain living in Goole, who had been converted under Finney's ministry in 1849. (See The York Herald, 9 March 1872, p. 8.) He gave Finney a pocket chronometer, which Finney left to his son, Charles, in his will, and which was passed down the family.
Finney intended to write England here.
These were probably Moody's eldest daughter, Mary, who was married to Russell Emmerson, and Ann (1835-1921) who had just graduated from the Literary Course in the College, and was soon to be married to Revd Edward Potter. See the will of John Moody, dated 13 September 1870, in Somerset House, London; and Ann Potter to James Fairchild, 30 March 1884, James Harris Fairchild Papers, Oberlin College Archives.
This word should have been fields.
Finney should have written probable.
Finney originally wrote what looks like "with" here, but altered it to "in".
Finney originally wrote "Tebutses" but altered it.